Cheshire East Council and its partners are stepping up their efforts to improve how residents get around rural areas after securing £453,144 in funding.
It was the fourth largest allocation from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) £7.6m Total Transport Pilot Fund. Cheshire East Council will use it for feasibility studies to see how public sector road passenger transport can be improved in rural areas.
About half of Cheshire East’s 372,700 residents live in rural villages and towns.
Caroline Simpson, executive director of economic growth and prosperity at Cheshire East Council, said: “Our bid, Transport & Rural Integration in Cheshire East (TRICE), demonstrates the importance of developing a viable rural transport network for the 50 per cent of our residents who live in rural areas.
“Many of these residents rely on passenger transport services.
“The money will help to identify what scope there is for integration across road passenger transport services commissioned by the public sector, including home-to-school transport, local bus support and non-emergency patient transport.
“It provides a great opportunity to work with partner organisations, particularly clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), to explore how to co-ordinate and integrate transport resources.
“This will ensure our transport is more efficient, of better quality and is more effective at meeting the needs of residents.”
Both the NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and South Cheshire CCG backed the Council’s bid.
Neil Evans, commissioning director of the NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, said: “The opportunities brought by this fund will further support and enhance the existing work currently under way by all health and social care partners in eastern Cheshire.
“It will not only support work to improve the experience of accessing health and care services, remove unnecessary duplication of resources – which can be reinvested into local care – but also improve the outcomes experienced by our patients, carers and residents.”