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 Council is geared up to develop a bigger picture of what communities' needs are when it comes to transport

Posted on 7 Dec 2023

North Ayrshire Council is driving ahead with a plan to learn more about what services people need in communities when it comes to transport.

The work is part of the Council’s Community Transport Pathfinder project, which aims to find community-led solutions to issues people are experiencing across North Ayrshire.

On Tuesday, December 5 Cabinet was provided with an update on this work and what the next steps are for the coming months.

As well as getting people from A to B, community transport can help in addressing loneliness and social isolation, and also provide access to services, training and employment opportunities.

When the Council’s Budget was set in March, a pot of £100,000 for the Community Transport Pathfinder project was set aside.

As part of the update to Cabinet, the next steps for this work were confirmed.

Consultancy support for a Garnock Valley Travel Needs Analysis, led by the Garnock Valley Locality Partnership and funded by the Community Investment Fund, is currently being arranged. This will look at the challenges in accessing transport within the Garnock Valley and what potential solutions might look like. Work is expected to be complete by spring 2024.

A North Ayrshire-wide community engagement exercise is also being undertaken to help understand the demand for a community transport scheme and, if there is, how this would work to meet the needs of the community. Again, this is expected to be completed by spring.

The Council would encourage as many people to respond as possible, so that an accurate picture of the challenges can be built.

The Council has also been allocated £146,000 through the Community Bus Fund (CBF), which is designed to support local authorities in improving public transport at a local level.

The proposal is to use the funding to upgrade bus stops in the Garnock Valley and other rural areas. The project is due to be completed by the end of March 2024.

Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet Member for Green Environment and Economy, said: “This project is vital in keeping our communities connected, tackling social isolation and helping address climate change by encouraging people to use more sustainable transport options.

“It will help give us a clearer picture of the struggles people are facing when trying to access transport, and the impact that not being able to travel has on their lives.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to participate in the forthcoming surveys to tell us their views about the specific transport challenges in their area.”

Cabinet noted and approved the next steps.