Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a local minibus that ran on a schedule connecting Tarporley High Street and Community Centre to the outlying villages of Utkinton, Cotebrook, Little Budworth and Eaton and also to the regular bus services that run from Tarporley High Street to Chester and to Crewe? At the Northern end of the circuit it could even reach Delamere Station if there was demand for that. Well, it isn’t a pipedream!
I have been working with Cheshire West and Chester Council and the four Parish Councils in a working group led by the chairman of Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council, Frank Tunney. Frank has a background that suits him very well to this role. We are hoping that we can bring together the rather disjointed services that exist already and use the funding to provide a wheelchair friendly, professionally operated bus that would serve everyone of all ages. No need to register as a user or book a seat in advance. It might provide a good source of regular work for one of our local minibus taxi operators.
Combating Isolation and rural disadvantage
This service would mean that people who are currently isolated could travel to the village to socialise, visit the medical centre, the chemist, Opal Club, the Post Office and the shops. School pupils would be able to go to after school activities and clubs and get a later bus home or get to part-time jobs at weekends and in the holidays. Connections to buses could take people to swimming clubs, or the cinema or just exploring wider opportunities and experiences. Young people and older ones can benefit so much from independence!
Good for the local economy
A regular local service could enable people to get to work or extend their working hours or get to training. The High Street shops would get the benefit of having customers delivered to their door. If we want people to support local shops this is one way to make this a viable possibility.
Better for our Environment and for Parking issues
I don’t need to tell you that fewer cars and more customers shopping locally in the High Street would be a great boon to the local environment! Cars left at home wouldn’t need to be taking spaces on the High Street or in the car parks in the village. As there should be fewer drivers using Tarporley as a Park and Ride site there might even be more spaces available to those who do need to bring their vehicles into the village. Fewer vehicles generally means cleaner air, safer lanes and less wear and tear on everything involved.
As I have mentioned before the plan would be to divert funding currently being used in an unco-ordinated number of services but it would probably need to have some funding to set it up and get people into the habit of using it. So we may need to think about some crowd funding or look to charitable bodies or benefactors. It happens in other places!
My ambition is to have it self financing and that would include affordable fares, good quality vehicles and professional drivers.
Our Member of Parliament Antoinette Sandbach is also involved and is very supportive