Suffolk village in transport cash boost

A WEST Suffolk village has become the first in the county to get a grant to help residents with little access to public transport pay for taxis. Dalham Parish Council has secured a grant of £2,980 from the Countryside Agency so that residents will be able to use taxis for up to half price for two years from April to make up for the lack of public transport.

A WEST Suffolk village has become the first in the county to get a grant to help residents with little access to public transport pay for taxis.

Dalham Parish Council has secured a grant of £2,980 from the Countryside Agency so that residents will be able to use taxis for up to half price for two years from April to make up for the lack of public transport.

The village will be the first in the county to receive the new grant from the agency to help improve access to transport.

It means that villagers will be able to take a taxi to and from their village and reclaim up to half the fare, to a maximum of £6, by filling in a simple form and taking it with the receipt for the journey to Dalham's new post office.


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Dalham Parish Council chairman David Bremner, said: "We are delighted to have received funding for our rural taxi scheme. It will enable parish residents without a car to travel outside the constraints of the public transport service."

Last year the village surveyed 105 households to ask what problems they had with the transport system around their village.

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Nearly all the village responded and the results showed the limited public transport for the area was a major problem, especially for those without cars who found it hard to have access to local services, particularly during the evening.

Mr Bremner highlighted the problem of rural transport by saying: "Our bus service is very rudimentary, for example we can't get a bus to the nearest GP in Wickhambrook or get a bus direct to our nearest railway station in Kennett.

"We hope the new grant will complement our bus service, which is subsidised by the county council, and encourage people to use public transport if they know it is easier to return home without a car."

The survey was sent to the Countryside Agency, which takes action on issues concerning the countryside, and decided that Dalham qualified for the Parish Transport Grant Scheme.

The scheme is an initiative which helps rural communities identify and meet local transport needs through their parish or town council by offering grants of up to £10,000 in conjunction with parish or town councils.

In 2000 the Countryside Agency's Rural Services Survey found that almost a third of rural settlements have no bus service of any kind, with under a half of the rural population having no access to community and dial a ride services.

Sarah Durrant, Countryside Agency officer said: " Public transport evidently fails to meet everyone's need, which is why the Agency actively supports initiatives such as the Dalham rural taxi scheme.

"It is an excellent example of a small, straightforward project and demonstrates how smaller parishes can benefit from the Parish Transport Grant Scheme."

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