FOR the last three years the Government has funded a taxibus service for the Colne Valley Area.
The taxibus runs a regular route from Slaithwaite to Outlane. The beauty of the system is that the taxibus will deviate on demand by half a mile off its route. This allows people in the more remote areas to access the service. However the funding, and consequently the service, is due to end this month.
The taxibus has taken children to and from school. It has taken workers to the railway station and regular bus stops so that their cars can be left at home.
The taxibus has taken people to the medical services. The service has allowed people, particularly the elderly, to go shopping into Slaithwaite and to visit the Post Office, banks and the library, so preserving the heart of the village.
Youngsters have been taken to youth clubs and other constructive gatherings. Walkers use the taxibus to take them to the start of the countryside walks allowing them “the freedom to roam”.
Older people travel on the taxibus to keep fit classes and community groups allowing them to have social inclusion and be active and stay healthy.
All of these things are what the Government says it wants. Such a service satisfies the Government’s criteria to reduce traffic on the roads and hence reduce our carbon footprint, and to allow the elderly to visit family and friends, thus preventing them from feeling isolated.
We are told that since the Government funding is ending, no further money is available to keep the taxibus service running as it is uneconomical because of the low numbers of passengers.
It is a rural area so, by definition, there will always be a low number of people using the bus. However the taxibus service meets all the above needs of the rural community and, I would suggest, should be the norm for all rural transport.