6 Community Transport schemes and charities will receive new minibuses as part the DfT Community Minibus Funds. In light of the increasing need to see a thriving community transport sector in the UK, the DfT announced last year a £25million community minibus funds. All organisations running minibus schemes for rural and deprived areas could apply to receive one or more brand new minibuses. Community First Oxfordshire promoted the funds through the network, and offered support in the application process.Schemes awarded the funds are: Cutteslowe, Wolvercote and Wytham minibus; The Villager; Chalgrove Age Concern; Wendelbury community minibus; Go Ride CIC; Adventure Plus. It is great to see community transport being recognised and valued as an important part of the transport network and to see schemes being financially support at a national level. This is doubly important when local authority financial support is seriously contracting, while demand for community transport is substantially increasing.
Rural entrepreneur builds a business case for a new eco-bus operation to take on subsidised bus routes. A techno-centric entrepreneur based in the Bartons has drafted a business case to initiate a new social enterprise called Our Bus Company. The new rural owned bus company aims to run electric midi-buses (small and narrow buses appropriate for rural roads) and would maximise the use of apps and online support, so that bus users can pre-book stops, if needed. This operation aims to replace and extend bus routes to Oxford and Banbury for the Bartons, Glympton, Wootton, Sandford St Martins and Duns Tew. Two local sources have offered some funding, but the new social enterprise needs to secure significant start-up funds to move forward. ORCC are supporting the new scheme to source funding.