New Public Transport Proposed In Economic Strategy

community bus interiorThe Council could introduce new public transport on St Mary’s if they follow recommendations put forward in the Economic Plan from consultants Ash Futures.

The report, commissioned by the authority, wants the Council to look at how it can improve traffic management and parking in Hugh Town, mainly by reducing the use of private vehicles.

One option is better transport on St Mary’s with the introduction of a new, year-round community bus service by the Council.

Ash Futures says this could be timed to take advantage of any new housing developments at sites such as Telegraph and could also be used for the school run.

But current community bus operator, Steve Sims, says in his experience, there’s very little demand for a winter service.

He tried running one between 2003 and 2005 with limited success, taking on average just 78p each trip.

Steve says during the season, locals make up less than 5% of passengers or a total income of around £1,000, so any subsidy for a private operator to run the route would need to be very high.

There’s a lot of spare mini bus capacity over winter that could be utilised, says Steve, but there’s an issue with loss of income for taxis, which he says is “pretty spartan” over the winter months.

Steve says the proposal for a new service is like a number of other items in the report’s wish list. “It looks like a good idea until you look a little more closely,” he said.

But he added the Ash Futures report is valuable because “it absolutely nails our problems.”

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