Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and the British Red Cross have joined forces to deliver the first ever MyBus service for the Isle of Arran.
For the first time, SPT’s demand responsive transport service MyBus will be combined to provide community health journeys for Arran residents through a partnership agreement with the British Red Cross. Aside from financial support, SPT is also providing a low-floor, wheelchair friendly Bluebird Tucana bus.
The British Red Cross will provide the drivers and the vehicle will be used jointly for MyBus journeys and to help with patient transfer work. The MyBus service will cover health centre appointments, Lamlash Hospital visiting journeys as well as other journeys.
Chair of SPT’s Operations Committee, Councillor Denis McKenna said: “I’m delighted SPT’s popular MyBus service is now serving the people of Arran.
“By working with the British Red Cross, we are making sure that the new vehicle can help as many people as possible. In its eye-catching orange livery, the bus is for island residents who have difficulty using or accessing regular public transport, to get where they need to go.
“People shouldn’t think of MyBus as only a service for the elderly, as passengers of any age may qualify. In fact, if you have a temporary disability, like a broken leg, MyBus could be the answer for you and it’s only a phone call away.”
The new service was warmly welcomed by user groups at the launch in Brodick who are keen to make it work to benefit everyone. In his short welcome speech, Councillor McKenna said: “I became Vice Chair of SPT earlier in the year and this is my first visit to the Isle of Arran in that capacity. I’m delighted to be here and thank everyone for such a warm welcome, I feel we’ve made friends already.”
After speaking to representatives of user groups and service users he added: “It’s really useful to hear your views about how the new MyBus service could be organised to help as many people as possible. Local knowledge is invaluable and the ideas are very welcome. We’re opened minded and always willing to give new ideas a go – you don’t know if they’ll work until you’ve tried them.” Peter McCarthy, Red Cross Operations Director for West Central and South West Scotland, said: “This is an excellent example of two organisations working in partnership to meet the needs of a community.
“The MyBus service will enable the Red Cross to help even more vulnerable people all over Arran. It will complement our existing transport service on the island, provided by our team of dedicated Red Cross volunteers.”
The bus has seating for 14 passengers with space for up to three wheelchairs. Additional space can be made for wheelchair users by folding back seats. This can be done in service and avoids a return journey to base to have seats removed.
The youngest service user Bethan Griffiths is 13 and MyBus takes her to and from Arran High School each day. When asked what she thought about it, Bethan replied: “Cool!”