Last Friday, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones and Andrew Bingham, MP for High Peak, visited the HQ of Minibus Options, a CTA corporate supporter and the organisation contracted to provide over 200 minibuses as part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Community Transport Minibus Fund.
Minibus Options have been providing custom built minibuses to charities, care homes, local authorities, schools and community transport operators since 1986. Friday’s event was an opportunity to celebrate the impact that the fund is already having on the community transport sector.
The day started with a great discussion between attendees on the impact that the minibus fund is going to have on communities across the country. Andrew Jones spoke highly of the work that community transport does and how supporting community transport operators through the minibus fund was a priority for the DfT.
Steve Moore, Managing Director of Minibus Options, then gave a tour through their impressive factory. It was a fascinating insight into where the vehicles used by our members to make such a difference start their journeys.
Bill Freeman, Chief Executive of the CTA, was at the event and said: “Having spoken to a number of our members who have received a new minibus through the Department for Transport’s Minibus Fund, it’s clear that the fund is already having, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the community transport sector. Members have told us how their new minibus will enable them to provide vital inclusive and accessible transport to their communities. As Minibus Options take on the contract to deliver these vehicles, we’re confident that each minibus will give our members the means to make an even bigger difference in their communities and help individuals access education, employment, health and other vital community services.”
As part of the visit, Andrew Jones handed over the keys for two brand new minibuses to Easy Go CT and West Lancashire Dial-a-Ride, both CTA members.
Philip Walker, manager of West Lancashire Dial-a-Ride said he was thrilled to receive a new minibus from the fund. “I was handed the keys by Andrew Jones and was impressed by his assurance of government support for the work of the Community Transport sector. I think it was good, too, that I was able to assure him that the funding represented by this new minibus would be out on the road, changing lives in our communities in just a few days time.”
Carl Schoolden, General Manager at Easy Go CT said that they were delighted to take delivery of their minibus and that it would “help support the services we provide and benefit the residents of Stockport.” Carl also added: “We would like to acknowledge and thank the Department for Transport’s community minibus fund in providing the funding for the vehicle and Minibus Options for their support and assistance in adapting it.”
The event was a great opportunity to highlight the important work that our members do in providing accessible and inclusive transport in their communities. It was also a testament to the importance of investing in the community transport sector and how the support of the Department for Transport really can make a huge difference to communities up and down the county.