Short and Long Term Impacts of the Rural Bus Services: ?InterConnect? and ?Villager? on Social Inclusion and Quality of Life
P Le Masurier, A-M Barker, MVA Ltd., UK; T Cross, Lincolnshire County Council, UK
This paper highlights how the rural bus services, ?InterConnect? and ?The Villager?, in the county of Lincolnshire in England, designed to provide rural residents with greater access to friends, shops, community services, have actually impacted upon residents? quality of life.
2 THE RURAL TRANSPORT CONTEXT IN LINCOLNSHIRE
We describe the characteristics of the area (eg dispersed settlements, population, employment, socio-economic, road networks) and the level of public transport services originally in operation, and how it was hoped new services would improve the situation. In particular, there was a desire to reduce social exclusion and increase access to local amenities, for those sections of the community with restricted access to a car.
We also describe the rural transport policy context in the UK and the funding issues and opportunities that were available.
3 PUBLIC TRANSPORT RESPONSES
We report on two schemes with similar plans to address social exclusion, but with some key differences.
· InterConnect ? aims and objectives, concept, operations, costs, funding.
· The Villager ? aims and objectives, concept, operations, costs, funding.
4 MONITORING IMPACTS AND PERFORMANCE
We report the impacts of the two schemes and discuss the approaches adopted. These varied from rigorous analysis of available (hard) Electronic Ticket Machine data, through to a more subjective approach involving surveys with residents in the communities that the schemes were designed to serve.
In particular, the Paper reports: the impact of the Villager on passenger volumes and revenue; and the short and longer-term impacts of Interconnect on passenger numbers, social inclusion and quality of life.
The results indicate that both schemes have been very successful. Initial indications are that the Villager has led to increased passenger numbers and revenue growth; whilst the InterConnect findings suggest that this growth will continue even in the longer term (i.e. 6 years after its introduction).
A particular strand of the Paper is on the benefits to society of such schemes, providing information on its impact on the lives of the most vulnerable, and immobile sections of our communities.
5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
We compare the two different schemes with similar objectives to address rural accessibility problems, and assess their merits and successes; and look to the future to see what changes may be in store.
Association for European Transport