The Minister for Roads and Local Transport, Jesse Norman MP, has visited West Oxfordshire at the invitation of local MP Robert Courts to see the Our Bus Bartons community transport scheme for himself - and to see what lessons the whole country can learn from this nationally-leading project.
Running since 2016, Our Bus has gone from strength to strength, providing vital links for rural villages to the places where local people need to go - and which are outside the commercial bus network.
Our Bus is fully financially independent, has just gained its commercial sponsorship deals, and has acquired its second bus. As the bus service celebrates its first birthday, everyone involved wants to spread the word of their success to see if they can help others.
Robert has supported the Our Bus project since his time as The Bartons’ District Councillor, not only donating his Councillor’s allowance after being elected as Witney’s MP, but praising their work when speaking about community transport in the House of Commons, so much so that the Minister, Jesse Norman, asked to come and see for himself.
Both MPs met with the Our Bus volunteers, alongside local campaigners, to discuss how the scheme has been able to go from strength to strength and to hear their views on how the Government can help similar schemes thrive.
Witney has just welcomed its first routes run by West Oxfordshire Community Transport Association which, with backing from Witney Town Council, is achieving similar success in the south of the constituency. Robert was pleased to visit to see their success in October.
Robert said, “I am proud that West Oxfordshire is leading the way in providing these vital links for our rural village, and praise the work of all involved.
“It was important to show the Minister all that we have achieved, and I look forward to working with him to see how more communities around the country can create their own schemes and how Our Bus Bartons can continue to grow.”
Minister Jesse Norman said, “Our Bus Bartons shows just how important community transport is to rural communities across the UK. It provides a vital service linking local people with shows, friends, families and jobs.”