New community transport scheme to hit the road
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.