Rory Stewart has welcomed good news in his ‎campaign to secure more funding for community transport. Rory, who strongly opposed Cumbria County Council’s cuts to bus services, has been campaigning directly with No.10 and The Department for Transport for greater support and investment in rural public transport. Thanks to the campaigning of Rory and other rural MPs, more than 300 local charities and community groups across England will receive new minibuses from the Department for Transport’s £25 million community transport minibus fund. Four of the groups successful in their bid for funding operate in Cumbria and include, the Fellrunner, Microbus, Aspatria CT and Brathay Trust. Following this first round of allocations, the Department for Transport will look to use the fund to support additional schemes this Summer, and community groups are encouraged to submit an application at:

Rory Stewart said:

“Having taken this campaign to No.10 and the Department for Transport, I am delighted to see local Cumbrian communities benefiting from the Community Transport Minibus Fund. It has inevitably been the most vulnerable members of our society who have been hardest hit by the county council’s decision to remove bus subsidies, and I have received a huge amount of correspondence from families really struggling as a result. There was nothing inevitable about the decision to cut bus subsidies, but not in a position myself to overturn the council’s decision, I have attempted to work with local communities, and central government to find any other solution possible that ensures local people are not left stranded in their own village. This fund will allow local community transport providers, like the Fellrunner, to continue providing a vital lifeline in outlying villages, so at the bare minimum, people can get in to town for shopping, hospital appointments, and the opportunity to socialise. I am trying to push forward a government-backed pilot that will see Cumbria think far more seriously about public transport, and if re-elected in May, I would love to set up a model that makes public transport truly work for local people.”

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