Robin takes wing in Gloucestershire

A two-year trial of an on-demand minibus service has launched in Gloucestershire.

The Robin bespoke minibus service provides on-demand services designed to fill a gap where there is no bus provision, complementing existing services. Residents can book journeys via an app or over the phone. The service will provide a link from bus stops in hamlets or village centres to local transport hubs and train stations.

The Robin will cover two areas. One minibus serves the southern area, the Forest of Dean, covering an area about 23 miles long, with the village of Huntley in the north and the small town of Chepstow in the south. The service can be booked from 70 villages and hamlets across the area, from over a hundred ‘virtual stops’. Two minibuses cover the northern section – the Cotswolds area, from Chipping Campden in the north to Windrush, 20 miles south, serving over 50 villages and hamlets.

The service is being operated by Lydney Dial-A-Ride (Forest of Dean section) and Pulham’s Coaches (North Cotswolds).

According to Gloucestershire County Council, the pilot is ‘all the more timely given the issues with Stagecoach in the county’.

The Robin runs from 7am until 7pm except for bank holidays. The pilot scheme allows residents to book the trips they need when they need them, using the Padam Mobility DRT platform. Data generated by the platform will help shape the services and inform future planning to meet the needs of Gloucester residents beyond the end of the trial.

The Robin was given a £1.35 million boost after Gloucestershire County Council was one of only 17 successful local authorities, out of the 56 that applied, to the Department for Transport’s Rural Mobility Fund.

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