Mrs Charlotte Ironside is a fantastic individual: she’ll strike up a conversation with anybody; she’ll always speak her mind; and she has been travelling on Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus since the year we started back in June 2000. On Tuesday she was interviewed by BBC Scotland as part of a series of programmes looking at important issues in Scotland in the run-up to the Scottish Parliament elections on 5th May.
The team at BBC Scotland came up to visit us at Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus to talk about the importance of community transport in rural communities as well as to film some of our passengers in action.
We started the day with a visit to Charlotte Ironside who was filmed leaving home and getting on to the bus which then drove off to pick up its other passengers. One of the services we provide is a shopping service but we diverted it off for the morning so we could have coffee and cake with the clients. The BBC crew joined us here for elevenses and talked to our wonderful passengers as they enjoyed their time with one another.
Our clients were asked why they used our community transport service and whether they could manage without it. The answer was that community transport is a vital lifeline to their communities and without it many of them couldn’t get out and about or would have to rely on family instead of being independent. It was lovely hearing the warm and positive things that our passengers were saying about our services and reinforced (as if it needed reinforcing) the important role that community transport plays in communities across in Scotland.
As part of the day’s filming, I was filmed in front of one of our buses along with the reporter for an interview where we discussed the growing number of socially isolated older people who need community transport services and the impact that this is having on the sector. I was also asked what my one wish from any government would be: support for communities to have more say and more power to shape their transport needs. As we’ve seen time and again, the best transport solutions come from the communities that they serve.
The piece will be airing on BBC Two Scotland at 10:30pm Thursday 14 April as part of the programme ‘Scotland 2016’ (and will be available on iPlayer shortly after.) It also features an interview with CTA’s Director for Scotland John MacDonald where he talks about the importance of seeing new health and social care partnerships becoming a larger priority in the transport sector.
The programme is a great opportunity for us to promote the vital work that community transport does across Scotland and we can’t wait to share it with you when it comes out.