Community service Jubilee bus launched in Thatcham
A community transport group has launched its new ‘Jubilee Bus’ in Thatcham.
The service, run by the Volunteer Center West Berkshire, will start operating in the coming weeks in Newbury and Thatcham.
The bus has been adapted to be “fully accessible” for the new reservation service.
The launch took place on March 22 at Thatcham Borough Council offices at 9am and made a short journey to Woolhampton.
The new service will allow those who cannot use public transport to access local town centers for shopping, going to dates and meeting friends.
Attending were West Berkshire Council chairman Clive Hooker and Thatcham nayor John Boyd, as well as Thatcham councilors Richard Foster (Lib Dem, Thatcham Colthrop and Crookham) and Owen Jeffery (Lib Dem, Thatcham Central).
Volunteer Center West Berkshire director Garry Poulson said: “We have a great partnership with West Berkshire Council’s Community Transport Department. They fully appreciate the enormous value of supporting community transportation groups in the district.
“We are very grateful to West Berkshire Council for the investment they have made in the service which will help older and less able people go about their business in both towns.”
Volunteer Center West Berkshire has provided a “Handybus” service to residents since 1986.
He said that before the pandemic, almost 60,000 journeys were made using these services.
The bus was funded by the council’s capital grant fund, which the council says is available to all local community transport operators.
Richard Somner (Con, Tilehurst South and Holybrook), West Berkshire Council executive member for planning, transport and campaigning, said: “The council continues to support community transport programs and has allocated £55,000 in funding this year to help local providers deliver services, as well as grants totaling £50,000 available for capital projects each year.
“Community transportation continues to be available throughout the district and remains a valued service to those who use it.
“We believe this fosters a sense of community in an environmentally friendly way and also builds on the incredibly valuable services that all local community transport groups provide to residents of West Berkshire.”