Saddleworth in ‘Total Transport Pilot’
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Oldham Council are to work together to deliver a project exploring new ways of providing rural communities with more effective, specialist transport links. To be undertaken in Saddleworth, Oldham, the project has secured an £81,000 grant from the government’s Total Transport Pilot Fund. The ‘Oldham Shared Transport’ project will explore how existing bus and minibus services can be brought together to deliver more joined-up and efficient travel options in rural communities, which are often cut adrift from more concentrated transport services in busy town and city centres. TfGM’s demand responsive services, including Local Link and Ring & Ride, and Oldham Council’s Social Services, special education and non-emergency patients’ transport services, will all form part of the pilot. If successful, the approach could be rolled out to benefit other parts of the region.
Chair of the TfGM Committee, Cllr Andrew Fender, said, ‘Saddleworth has a population of around 25,000 people but is a predominantly rural area, and its geography is what makes providing effective specialist transport links a particular challenge. This is an issue that has become even more apparent in recent years as local authority budget cuts have started to bite, specialist services have become more disparate and diluted, and more and more people have started to fall through the gaps as a result. We hope this pilot will prove invaluable for some of the most vulnerable members of our community by addressing the piecemeal way that specialist transport services have evolved in our health and local authorities sectors.’