Last reviewed 17 November 2020

A charity which supports shared transport has submitted proposals to the Scottish Government for on-demand bus services to be introduced in a bid to help communities cut-off by reductions in local services.

CoMoUK said that the “flexible bus” initiative would allow operators to use “Demand Responsive Technology” which would link local buses with the people who need them.

The proposal is among several ideas it has submitted in evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.

The charity points out that similar schemes are running elsewhere in the UK, including Flex Tees in the Tees Valley and Go Coach in Kent, which are being used to help connect passengers with essential services and have been keeping key workers moving during the Covid-19 crisis.

Scotland director of CoMoUK, Lorna Finlayson, said: “When we emerge from the devastating coronavirus crisis, there are a number of options to change the way people travel for the better. That includes initiatives like bike-sharing which improves mental and physical health, and car-sharing which cuts down on carbon emissions and saves users huge amounts of money. But there’s also the chance to think outside the box, and a flexible on-demand bus system could be of huge benefit.”

In Newport, the city’s “fflecsi” service system replaces some scheduled local bus services with more flexible services rather than following a set timetable at fixed bus stops, and buses are ordered either via a mobile phone app or by calling a phone number.

The areas covered are designed to include key destinations such as hospitals and supermarkets.

With many services currently struggling to attract passengers, now is considered the moment to introduce new schemes and assist operators, Ms Finlayson argued.

See como.org.uk for details of the charity’s submission to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.