Am Bratach No. 242
November 2012


Non-profit group forges ahead

For the past two years, Transport for Tongue, Melness and Skerray (T4T) have successfully provided “wheels for the community”.

A Highland Council grant enabled the purchase of the 5-seater Peugot disabled-access vehicle for most local runs complemented by volunteer drivers using their own vehicles and reimbursed at the government recommended mileage rate. T4T also utilises an aged 9-seater minibus “inherited” from a multiple sclerosis group when they upgraded their vehicle.

T4T assists people in the parish without access to transport to attend the health centre or dentist, go shopping or make private visits. T4T also provide a backup vehicle for Farr School and the Kyle Centre. Transport is available by arrangement for hire by groups and individuals. (During the maintenance closure of the Tongue Bridge, T4T provided essential connection between Melness and Tongue with vehicles at either end of the bridge.)

Public transport between the communities is non-existent and very limited to nearest towns and rail-links. A recent survey conducted by the local development officers identified conclusively that the provision of joined-up transport is a major issue.

In the current cutbacks, the Highland Council has announced that they will be withdrawing from running the Kyle Centre from April 1 2012. This will mean the lack of public transport, particularly for the elderly and most frail in the community, will become an even more urgent problem.

From April 2012, the Kyle Centre will expand to become a “Well Being Hub” under “community” management. To support and enable this to serve all age groups in the community, Transport for Tongue plans to develop a transport service for the Kyle Centre.

T4T has been encouraged and enabled by Highland Council to investigate the feasibility of developing registered local bus routes under a Section 22 Transport Permit. For the first time ever, T4T will introduce a transport service designed exclusively by the community for the community. The proposed bus routes will be for all ages. Those people sixty years old, and other concessionary bus-pass holders, will be able to use their passes on the registered routes to enable them to move between the communities and to freely access local amenities, nearest towns and rail links.

T4T state that it will be incorporated by early 2012 as a company limited by guarantee.

Help is needed! T4T aims to have the registered bus routes in place by April 1 2012. To achieve this a 16-seater-bus must be purchased. Charities and organisations are being approached for grants and help to reach the necessary target of £45,000 purchase price. Transport for Tongue will be very grateful for any donations from individual or groups to assist in reaching this target.

The new mini-bus will be the main provision for community transport. It will be available for hire by the community when it is not timetabled for a registered route.

Transport for Tongue needs help from all the community to expand and achieve total joined up transport for the area. For donations, please contact Laura Findlay on 01847 601238.

— Contributed


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