Cheshire East Council’s new on-demand bus service has notched up more than 3,500 passenger journeys since its launch last October.
Known as ‘go-too’, the service covers a wide area south of Nantwich, taking in Bunbury, Audlem and several other villages where no commercial services are available. The service is available to all people in the area.
Demand-responsive transport enables people, or a group of people, to request a bus for a specific journey, either via an app or by calling a helpline. The service was introduced to help tackle social isolation, reduce journeys by car and help residents of all ages get to shops, GP appointments and access other essential needs.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of its highways and transport committee, said: “We are encouraged by use of the service so far and we have seen week-on-week growth in the run up to Christmas.
“The service is performing as we expected at this stage but we are aware more needs to be done to ensure that this service is sustainable in the long term. I encourage people to consider leaving the car at home and giving ‘go-too’ a try.”
As well as reducing car dependency and a sense of isolation, the go-too buses run on cleaner biodiesel, contributing to the council’s low-carbon initiative and its aspiration to be a carbon-neutral council by 2025. Its progress is being carefully monitored, offering a way forward for the future of rural bus services in Cheshire East.
A fresh promotion drive will take place this month and, as part of that, anyone who wants to try it for the first time will be offered two free journeys. Passengers have already given it the thumbs up with some saying they are using it for getting outdoors for countryside walks and getting to training courses. One described it as ‘a brilliant service’.
Two ‘midi’ 16-seater buses, both with low-floor access for wheelchair users, prams and pushchairs, operate Monday to Saturday, 7am-9pm. It is a three-year trial, funded via the government’s rural mobility fund.
For details about how to download the app or access the helpline visit: www.go-too.co.uk