Cheshire East Council’s ‘Little Bus’ service is to be upgraded and extended across a wider area of the borough from August, giving reassurance to its 600 regular users
The council wants to make sure that Little Bus continues to support the elderly, the disabled and people who have no access to a scheduled service.
Proposed changes to the service last November were deferred to give the council time to assess any impact of the revised council-supported bus network.
The council’s cabinet has approved plans to revitalise the service, which is seen as a ‘life-saver’ for some residents with special needs or living in areas of the borough without access to other public transport.
Helping people to live active, independent lives and avoid social isolation is the primary reason for funding Little Bus and eligibility for accessing the service remains unchanged. Residents that are disabled, live beyond the reach of any scheduled service or are over 80 years of age, are entitled to use Little Bus.
Core hours will be between 9.30am and 2.30pm and this follows the strong preference expressed during public consultations.
Andrew Ross, Cheshire East Council’s director of infrastructure and highways, said: “These proposals for Little Bus are an important step towards securing services for residents and delivering our savings plans. We have identified a genuine ‘spend less – deliver more’ opportunity.
“We fully acknowledge that staff at the existing operator will be affected by this decision and the council will fulfil its obligations through consultations supported by our HR personnel.”
As part of the proposals, Little Bus will now be operated by the council’s own transport company Transport Service Solutions (TSS) and users can expect to see newer, high-quality vehicles operating across a wider area of the borough.