Transport scheme hits the road

A COMMUNITY transport scheme in Ponteland is up and running after grant funding was secured.

A 14-seater mini-bus will operate one day a week for a year from next month to help those who do not have access to their own transport during the day and live a significant distance away from a bus stop.

It will link with the village centre, shops in Merton Way and the main health centre in Meadowfield, as well as give people the opportunity to catch a commercial bus to Newcastle, Kingston Park or elsewhere.

Ponteland West county councillor Veronica Jones worked with Ponteland Community Partnership, the town council and medical group to make an application to the Get Going fund, run by charity Adapt North East.

A total of £150,758 of Government transport funding was ring-fenced by Northumberland County Council and a panel recently approved about £5,000 for the Ponteland scheme.

Coun Jones said: “This project will help many residents, including elderly people with mobility issues and mums with pushchairs who don’t have a car and live more than a mile away from a bus stop. They have been using taxis to get to the health centre.

“It will pick them up from home and drop them off at key points across Ponteland. We’re confident it will be well used and there is potential to expand the service if it proves to be popular.

“It was important to present evidence that it will be a sustainable scheme and the county’s transport manager said it our application was an excellent example of partnership working.

“Ponteland Medical Group has been very supportive and it will make sure that doctors are able to see patients using the service soon after they are dropped off by the mini-bus.”

It is envisaged that each user would pay £2 per year to register and £1 for each trip, each way.

Ponteland Town Council agreed to give £500 in each of the next two years to help with the project’s costs.