The Robin, a bespoke minibus service operating in selected areas of the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds, had a visit from local councillors last week (16 December).
The service is being led by Gloucestershire County Council with £1.352 million funding supplied by the Department of Transport.
The visit gave Forest councillors the opportunity to see first-hand how the minibus works and to take a short trip on board. Lydney operator Lydney Dial-a-Ride, an industry expert in on demand transport, hosted the visit making everyone welcome and explaining how the service works.
Over the last 2 months The Robin has covered 8,000 miles in the Forest of Dean transporting 600 passengers to where they need to be or linking them with other public transport. The service is also helping to serve customers even more following the service changes because of Stagecoach’s withdrawal from some routes.
Cllr. Philip Robinson cabinet member for transport, said “It’s fantastic to see this service doing so well. The Robin is doing a brilliant job of serving our residents and getting them to vital appointments, into the community and connecting them with town centres. Long term we need to be thinking differently about how we provide rural public transport and I’m very hopeful this trial can prove on demand transport as a viable model to be rolled out further.”
Cllr Beki Hoyland, county councillor for Blakeney and Bream, said “I’m a regular user of The Robin and I love it. It’s a fantastic way to get around in a rural area currently not well served by a traditional bus service. I’ve had excellent feedback from other residents too and it was great that local councillors have had the chance to see it in action.”
Louise Currie, Manager at Lydney Dial a Ride, said “We’ve been delighted by the popularity of The Robin. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive. The service is easy to use, and people can book as and when they need to.”
The service is open to anyone in the geographical area served and journeys cost from as little as £2.50 per trip, concessionary bus passes can also be used. The service has no fixed routes and uses innovative technology to group passengers together in real time with bookings taken anywhere from 2 weeks to an hour in advance. Anyone can book the service on the web, by phone or on the app.
More information available at https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/transport/the-robin/