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New ‘On Demand’ Rural Bus Service Hits the Road

A new on-demand rural bus service to help reduce isolation has been successfully launched by Cheshire East Council.

Cheshire East Council arms-length company Transport Service Solutions (TSS) chair Cllr Jonathan Parry, TSS projects manager Sarah Tunstall, council project engineer Chris Taylor, council deputy leader Cllr Craig Browne and the council’s director of highways and infrastructure Andrew Ross with one of the new ‘go-too’ buses

The new ‘go-too’ pilot scheme covers a wide area south of Nantwich, taking in Bunbury, Wrenbury and Audlem and other villages, where no commercial services are available.

The bus service can be booked by anyone via a mobile phone app or phone call, with a doorstep pick-up service for less-mobile passengers. This allows someone, or a group of people, to request a bus for a specific journey.

Map of the ‘go-too’ service area

The service is not tied to a fixed route, allowing for efficient shared trips without lengthy detours or fixed schedules.

Two 16-seater ‘midi’ buses are available between 7am and 9pm, Monday to Saturday, with low-floor access. A third vehicle may operate at peak times, subject to demand.

If the pilot service is successful, it could be rolled out to other parts of the borough.

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of its highways and transport committee, who attended the launch event, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of this exciting and innovative scheme, which will help reduce rural isolation, increase accessibility and support the local economy.

“This pilot project will help inform bus service provision in the future and gives the council an opportunity to explore new ways of providing travel options in rural areas at times which better suit the needs of residents and visitors.

“This new service will also help reduce car dependency and contribute to the council’s own low-carbon plans. We will monitor this pilot scheme with interest, as it could offer a way forward for the future model of rural bus services in Cheshire East.”

This £1.25m, three-year pilot service, which went live last week (4 October), has been funded by the Department for Transport’s Rural Mobility Fund.

Fares for the bus service will be £3 for people aged 16 and over and £2 for under-16s and concessions. For every five journeys taken, users will get the sixth journey free.

Information on how to book the service and which areas are included etc, can be found on the council’s website at: www.go-too.co.uk  Alternatively, ring 0300 123 5103  between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.