West Sussex County Council has agreed to contribute £50,000 to fund the project to develop local transport solutions in partnership with Community Transport Sussex (CTS).
Newly-appointed staff at CTS will support and develop the existing community transport network over the next two years, while working with communities and parish councils to explore innovative ways to ‘fill the gaps’ in areas currently lacking conventional public transport services.
This will also include working closely with the county council’s transport provision team to share vehicles and drivers, making better use of existing resources.
Matt Roberts, chief executive officer of CTS, said: “The ability to get out and about is key to maintaining independence and staying connected to your community.
“We hope that this new partnership between CTS and the county council will enable us to reach out to more communities across the county for whom access to transport is an issue.
“Keeping people connected to their communities and loved ones can help drastically reduce loneliness and isolation.
“There are some wonderful community transport groups across West Sussex and we aim to work together with as many as possible to ensure that no one in our county is disadvantaged by a lack of affordable, accessible transport.”
CTS was recognised for its outstanding work in the sector by winning ‘community transport provider of year’ by the Community Transport Association last year.
Roger Elkins, WSCC’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “We know how much our communities value transport links across the county so we are delighted to be partnering with Community Transport Sussex to help develop travel solutions for anyone who isn’t able to access, or has difficulty accessing, conventional public transport.”
Any community group/parish or individual for whom transport is an issue is asked to contact CTS on 01444 471919.
Anyone wanting to volunteer or become a driver or passenger assistant can call the same number.