Cheshire East’s new on-demand bus service – ‘go-too’ – is proving to be just the ticket for people in rural areas in the south of the borough.
Now in its second year of operation, the service has clocked up 10,000 passenger journeys since its launch last October, helping to reduce isolation in villages in a wide area south of Nantwich.
It also contributes to key council objectives of reducing carbon emissions and car dependency, while helping to promote more active travel. The service enables people living in the area to enjoy easy access to leisure, shopping, work and healthcare, such as GP appointments.
Research by Ansa Transport, which operates the service, found that 68 per cent of users would not have used another bus service before ‘go-too’ took to the road, while 45 per cent said ‘go-too’ made their journey easier. More significant was the finding that 61 per cent of passengers had access to a car.
Councillor Craig Browne, Cheshire East Council deputy leader and chair of the council’s highways and transport committee, said: “This is a great start and shows the service is having a positive impact on people’s lives.
“Buses reduce congestion, improve air quality and provide access to life opportunities. They can reduce a sense of social isolation and improve health and wellbeing.
“We will listen carefully to what passengers have to say but this is a promising start to what began as a pilot scheme, a year ago, to get people in our outlying villages feel more connected, while also contributing to the council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2025.”
The service operates between Bunbury, to the north west of Nantwich and Buerton to the south east, taking in Audlem, Hankelow, Marbury, Wrenbury, Brindley and Bulkeley. No commercial services operate in this part of the borough. It uses intelligent routing technology to plan the most cost and time-effective route, instead of a fixed route followed by commercial operators.
A ‘mini roadshow’, to generate more awareness and take-up for the service, is planned for Thursday 6 October. It will take place outside Nantwich Civic Hall from 9.30am–2.30pm, when staff will be on hand to answer questions from the public and library staff will be promoting the ‘go-too’ service through bus-themed readings and songs for children. Staff will also visit a dementia support centre and Swanley Bridge Marina.
The ‘go-too’ bus service is funded by the Department for Transport’s rural mobility fund in partnership with Cheshire East Council and Ansa Transport. Users can request the service by downloading and using the ‘go-too’ app on their smartphone, or they can call the booking line on 0300 123 5103. Customers can set up a payment card to pay their fares.
The service operates with two ‘midi’ 16-seater buses, both with low-floor access for wheelchair users, prams and pushchairs from 7am-9pm Monday to Saturday. It is part of a three-year trial costing £1.25m.