Monday 22 July 2024
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Nottingham

On-demand bus service to be trialled in Rushcliffe

Nottinghamshire County Council will use Government funding to help get bus passenger numbers back to pre-pandemic levels – and will trial an ‘on demand’ bus service scheme involving services being booked by phone and an app.

Documents show that after the outbreak of the Omicron variant, bus recovery slowed to around 70-80 per cent of pre-Covid activity.

And for concessionary fare holders, use has stalled at 55 to 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The figures will be discussed during the Transport and Environment Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council on May 4.

In response to the “slower recovery”, the Government has announced funding for a further six months until October 2022 through the Local Transport Fund (LTF).

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The Government had already given financial support through the Bus Recovery Grant (BRG), which ended in March 2022.

The Council’s £4.1m budget for local buses supports more than 100 bus services across the county.

Documents also show that this summer, the council will also be using £1.5m funding to run a pilot a project which will see buses operate on a “fully flexible, on-demand basis”.

The new Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) project will be trialled in the summer in Ollerton and Mansfield and in the Autumn in Rushcliffe.

It comes after the authority successfully bid for National Bus Strategy Rural Mobility Fund monies 2020/21.

Council documents stated: “These DRT services will not operate to a fixed route or timetable but will operate on a fully flexible on-demand basis to any destination within the operating area and further destinations outside the area to connect with traditional fixed route bus services. Customers will be able to book DRT services by phone, on the web or through an app.”

Papers published ahead of the meeting state that the council “intends to build on current investment levels and high passenger satisfaction ratings to further develop and improve bus services”.

Councillors will also be updated on “bus recovery progress as the sector emerges from the Covid pandemic”.

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