Rural residents have say on transport

Somerset residents are being asked to have their say on a new strategy to shape the future of public transport in the county.

Somerset County Council’s draft Passenger Transport Strategy strives to deliver an integrated quality bus, community transport and rail network within the county.

It aims to do so by working with public service operators, transport groups and other providers – and where possible promote sustainable community solutions to improve access in rural areas.

Passenger transport is defined as all modes where people do not rely on their own vehicle and includes bus, coach and rail services, along with private coaches, school buses, taxis, demand responsive transport (DRT) and community transport (CT).

The strategy has the following aims:

  • Bus: Maintain essential services where the commercial market is unable to provide viable services.
  • Bus: Work closely with communities, operators and the government to change established models of rural bus service provision for the benefit of local communities.
  • Rail: Work closely with other local authorities and the rail industry to achieve greater resilience, faster journey times and more capacity and connectivity in the rail system.

John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “In a big rural county like Somerset, it is often not viable for commercial services to operate, so public transport is always a challenge

“This document sets out these challenges but also highlights our ambitious aims to work with partners to find creative solutions and keep our communities connected.

“We very much value your feedback so please do read through the strategy and let us know what you think so we can take your views on board.”

The strategy will provide guidance for partners and help inform conversations with government departments, operators and other key stakeholders about the issues faced in Somerset.

The council says it will also help when it comes to applying for funding from central government – and set out the strategic direction of public transport in the county for residents.

The consultation is now open and runs until Sunday 23 September.


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