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Voluntary bus services set to benefit from £25 million DfT fund

18 November 2014 #Bus and Coach #News #Sales #Top Stories

Rural community groups will be given access to £25 million funding support from the government, to buy new minibuses to help run community transport services.

The new initiative from the Department for Transport hopes to provide hundreds of new vehicles to voluntary organisations across the UK, that can utilise the minibuses and continue to provide a transport service in rural and isolated locations.

Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin, who announced the scheme, said, “As a rural MP, I know how important community bus providers are and how much they matter. These groups help keep rural communities alive and independent.

“We want to do all we can to support local voluntary operators who help out in these areas. This large amount of money is to help those who already do much to support their community.”

The new fund will be mainly accessible to existing voluntary and charity organisations that have a licence to run a not-for-profit transport service for their community. Smaller operators and those who help out in the area will also be given the green light to bid for a new minibus.

Each applicant can bid for one vehicle and will need to prove that the minibus will be used only for non-profit transportation, not to compete for bus service contracts.

Bill Freeman, Chief Executive of the Community Transport Association, said, “This is good news for community transport. Our own research shows that many organisations, particularly smaller ones serving their immediate neighbourhoods, struggle to put aside money to replace vehicles.”

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