Case Study: Bob the Bus, Totnes
Talking to Totnes - Learning from Bob the Bus
There are two main strands to the Inclusion+ project: i. talking to the community ii. find out how similar schemes run.
To do this, I looked to exemplar community transport schemes across the country. Helpfully one of the best is in our neighbouring county Devon, in Totnes.
I spoke to Lyn Price, Bob the Bus's co-ordinator. She told me more about the scheme...
Bob the Bus has been running since 1997 and has taken the shape of a community bus (Town Bob), a scheduled service (Stoke Bob) and self-drive hire bus (Hire Bob).
Lyn provided a lot of knowledge about the intricacies of running a community transport scheme. Bob the Bus is now run as a charity and Lyn commented that "we’ve been sustainable through grant funding, but it would be nice to be independent."
Some challenges we are likely to face (specifically related to a community bus scheme):
Training drivers and getting reliable volunteer drivers
Deciding on the type of service - scheduled routes require different permissions to a hire service
Making it easier for people to use - ring and ride, online membership to use, access for disabled people
Lyn also gave me some useful tips on running a successful community transport scheme:
Keep it small and simple
Apply for funding to keep the core services running
Promote and encourage use of the bus so that community groups know they have access to it
Even though Bob the Bus services a community with ~20,000 residents, at the heart of both Inclusion+ and Bob the Bus is a commitment to improving the infrastructure for local residents and to provide a new service which helps people get where they need to be.