New com­mu­nity trans­port scheme to hit the road

South Wales Evening Post - - LETTERS -

A NEW com­mu­nity trans­port project in the up­per Am­man Val­ley aims to im­prove ac­cess for res­i­dents who are “poorly served” by pub­lic trans­port.

The project will cater for peo­ple liv­ing in Cwm­gors, Gwaun-cae-gur­wen, Lower Bry­nam­man and Tairg­waith who need to at­tend med­i­cal ser­vices, doc­tor’s ap­point­ments or com­mu­nity events.

Fund­ing has been se­cured for the first year, with a com­mu­nity trans­port de­vel­op­ment worker cur­rently be­ing re­cruited.

Gwaun-cae-gur­wen ward coun­cil­lor So­nia Reynolds, who is be­hind the ini­tia­tive, said: “Dur­ing my elec­tion cam­paign I found the is­sues of pub­lic trans­port to be huge in the vil­lages and this was con­firmed by sur­veys un­der­taken. Work­ing with the com­mu­nity trans­port or­gan­i­sa­tion Dansa and coun­cil of­fi­cers, we have se­cured a new and larger bus for the X26 route run by Dansa – the pre­vi­ous bus was small and of­ten full when it ar­rived in Cwm­gors, where it was the only pub­lic trans­port avail­able.

“This project now seeks to try to make the com­mu­nity car in Gwaun-cae­gur­wen, that is hardly used at the mo­ment, into a more use­ful and ac­ces­si­ble re­source.

“As things go for­ward I hope we can in­clude Cwm­l­lyn­fell.

“I am re­ally grate­ful that the grants and em­ploy­ment are be­ing un­der­taken by Canol­fan Maerdy as the com­mu­nity an­chor or­gan­i­sa­tion for the val­ley area.”

Around 30% of the pop­u­la­tion in Gwaun-cae­gur­wen are with­out cars, with the taxi ser­vice and pub­lic trans­port links be­tween vil­lages be­ing ei­ther ex­pen­sive or lim­ited.

And un­til now, the com­mu­nity car has been rarely avail­able due to a short­age of trained driv­ers and the need to book 48 hours be­fore in­tended use.

The project aims to sup­port the ini­tial de­vel­op­ment of sus­tain­able, re­li­able com­mu­nity trans­port in the area.

Coun­cil­lor Reynolds used her £10,000 coun­cil com­mu­nity fund for the project and ob­tained £10,000 match fund­ing from the East Pit Re­vised Com­mu­nity Ben­e­fit Fund, while around £4,500 has come from the Celtic En­ergy Com­mu­nity Ben­e­fit Fund. Neath Port Tal­bot Coun­cil’s mem­bers com­mu­nity fund en­ables each coun­cil­lor to in­vest £10,000 in projects to ad­dress lo­cal needs and fund projects that will help to­wards cre­at­ing vi­brant and sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties.

Money left un­spent in the fund in 2018-19 will roll over to 2019-20, with the fund clos­ing on March 31, 2020.

Neath Port Tal­bot Coun­cil Gwaun-cae-gur­wen ward coun­cil­lor So­nia Reynolds with the com­mu­nity car.

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