If you have an opinion about community transport in the Cotswolds, now is the time to air it. The district council is releasing a survey asking for feedback on community transport issues and how it may be improved.
Cotswold district covers a rural area of about 450 square miles, and getting around can often be a significant problem for non-car owners. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, can limit access to training and employment opportunities, and might even impact severely on people’s health.
There are a range of community transport options available to help address this problem, including services such as dial-a-ride, volunteer car drivers, community buses, lift share schemes and car clubs. However, Cotswold District Council believes there is scope to do more.
The findings will feed into work that the district council has commissioned alongside Cotswold Volunteers and Cotswold Friends (formerly Cotswold Volunteers North) to understand people’s use of community transport and their perceptions. This has been funded by Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and will culminate in the production of a study and recommendations for improvements, based on the results of the survey and face-to-face interviews.
Councillor Carole Topple, Cotswold District Council Cabinet Member for Health and Leisure, is encouraging people to share their views about community transport:
“We know that getting around and beyond the Cotswolds without a car can be difficult and our recent research into loneliness told us that a lack of transport can contribute to poor health and wellbeing. But we also know that the cost of delivering public transport in rural areas is high and funding is limited. We want to understand how solutions such as community transport could help Cotswold residents to get out and about more and access the services they need.”
“We realise at the outset that there are limits to what we can achieve, but we are hopeful that we can influence service providers – for example, in health and social care - to develop a better understanding of how transport impacts on their services, as well as providing robust support for more innovative community transport solutions.”
The survey, which runs until the end of March, is available online now at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CotswoldCommunityTransportSurvey
Residents can also request a paper copy by calling Jennifer Taylor at the district council on 01285 623000 or Cotswold Volunteers on 01285 658802. Once the survey data has been analysed, the council will publish the results in May.