Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

November 1, 2011

Wheels to work

For many who choose to live in rural Scotland, the requirement to have access to a car is seen as a necessary and increasingly expensive evil.  But with that option not open to everyone, and with public transport routes ever more vulnerable to cuts, it’s easy to see how many could become seriously isolated. The community transport sector, with its renowned flexibility and ability to design services which are appropriate to scale and need, has come up trumps again. This time in Levenmouth.

LEVENMOUTH has kick-started yet another ‘first’ for Scotland.

MyBus Community Transport is pioneering a Wheels 2 Work venture, to help people travel to work in areas where transport may be tricky.

The project is backed by £64,000 funding from the Coalfields Regeneartion Trust (CRT), the charity which supports the social and economic regeneration of mining-linked areas.

Methil-based MyBus has taken delivery of a 20-strong fleet of 50cc mopeds and 125cc scooters, provided by Rumblurs in Kirkcaldy, in a scheme it hopes will be a two-wheeled triumph.

It’s aimed at assisting people in coalfields areas like Levenmouth – often with high unemployment – overcome any difficulties with public transport after they’ve secured work, by taking the bikes on a six-month loan scheme.

There are conditions, and a weekly charge of around £20 to run the bike – with the money reducing costs if the user wants to buy the machine after the six months.

Insurance, safety wear and compulsory basic training is provided by the scheme during that time.

The project is targeted mainly at 16-25-year-olds, although no one over 25 is excluded.

MyBus managing director Mary Parry explained difficulties with public transport could hamper, discourage or even prevent people from taking a job they may have been offered.

Some workplaces may only be a short distance away but could involve long journeys if public transport services were poor.

MyBus was also liasing with Jobcentre Plus and Ms Parry added: “As a social enterprise, we are always looking at ways to break down barriers to employment and identified transport as a major issue, especially if shift work is involved.

“This project makes employment opportunities in areas such as Dunfermline and Rosyth a lot more accessible.”

The venture, modelled on successful examples in England, is Scotland’s first and Nicky Wilson, a trustee with the CRT, said it could make a difference to people’s lives, in helping secure employment, building confidence and providing a low-cost form of transport.