WAT IF? community minibus trial extended
WAT IF? (Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation) has extended its community minibus trial, changing the timetable to better reflect the needs of the local community.
The initial trial ran on alternate Thursdays and Saturdays from September to December but Thursdays didn’t prove as popular and feedback showed that residents would rather have a service every Saturday – so the new trial runs two trips every Saturday!
The bus picks up at the three villages in the WAT IF? area - Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax - and drops off at West Calder Train Station and at Livingston Centre. The WAT IF? area has no public transport services, and so the minibus trial provides a link to shops, banks and other services. This is important for those who don’t have access to private transport. It also gives younger residents the chance of independent travel for shopping and meeting with friends, with links to the train network.
Local resident Mandy Meikle has used the bus several times, on two occasions getting the train into Edinburgh and back.
She says: "Having lived here for almost 25 years and sharing a car with my husband, it is wonderful to have this option, even just one day a week. But local transport is about more than getting from A to B. It's an opportunity to meet neighbours, a social link which many don't appreciate. I wish WAT IF? every success with the trial and hope it results in a regular service. Funding a community minibus in an area with no public transport seems a perfect use of community benefit funding."
The trial will continue to run until Saturday 4June 2016, after which the Trust will use the evidence gathered to look at longer term options for rural transport in the area.
The trial is funded through community benefit funds donated to WAT IF? by Muirhall Energy. Chris Walker, Managing Director of Muirhall Energy is keen to support the project.
He said: "We are delighted that WAT IF? are extending this invaluable service. It provides affordable and necessary transport to a rural community that may otherwise find it difficult to get out and about. It is fantastic to see some of the funds from Muirhall Windfarm Extension being used to support the continued running of this much needed transport link."