A NEW community bus service will be launching in Malvern on Friday, May 3.

It will run from Half Key Road and Malvern Vale area to the Retail Park every Friday. Pick-ups will start at approximately 10.30am, arriving at the Retail Park around 11.10am and returning at 12.45pm.

Kate Walton from Community Action, which is running the service, said: “Feedback from initial surveys, coupled with the introduction of the Worcestershire on Demand bus service, has highlighted areas with limited transport services where a community bus route would be a great solution. After consultation with local councillors and other parish representatives, we developed plans for a new bus route covering Malvern Vale.”

“It is a ring and book service only - the number to book or make enquiries is 01684 892381 - and passengers must book by 12.30 the day before travel.”

 Community Action was established in 1972 and is based in Malvern Link within the beautifully scenic, rural area of Malvern Hills. Relocation at the end of last year to more prominent, visible offices provides a much higher profile for the charity and its services, which are aimed at addressing rural and social isolation for older or vulnerable residents within the Malvern area.   

Transport is one of Community Action’s  most significant volunteer projects, with cars, wheelchair vehicle and minibuses enabling residents to access essential services and social opportunities, helping to promote independence and reduce loneliness for older people. Supported by funding from Malvern Hills District Council, Community Action  is working with Age UK to target resources on those areas where access to services or activities is restricted by the availability of transport.

Councillor Natalie McVey, who is supporting this project, said: “I realise how important access to public transport is, and how the lack of a bus service has negatively impacted on the lives of residents, some of whom have services cut altogether. That’s why, along with Councillor Jules Wood, I have been looking at solutions.

“I was delighted when Community Action and Age UK contacted me to discuss the introduction of a new weekly community bus service and together we have devised a circular route that takes into account the needs of residents. I have provided funding from my Worcestershire County Council budget to get the new service up and running from Friday, May 3.

“I would encourage residents to use this service so that we can prove to decision makers that there is a need for public transport along this route.”

This is a flexible service, picking up pre-booked passengers en route, and may be able to cover other areas on demand; discussions are already taking place with parish councillors from Leigh and Bransford to consider expanding the service into this area if there is sufficient demand and funding available. It is also an opportunity for new volunteer drivers to support local residents.

For more information, or to book a journey, phone 01684 892381