Summer is the time we think of holidays and going places. It’s great if you can go out and about with friends, but transport is an eternal problem particularly if a group of you fill more than one car.

 

How about hiring a bus? Malmesbury is very fortunate to have two community minibuses, one of which is ‘self-drive’. The Cartmell Mini-bus – named after the legendary Malmesbury youth worker who died in his prime) and another (The Red Bus) that can be hired with a paid driver (but which necessarily costs more).

The Red Bus

   MDCT Bus                                   

Formed in 1992, Malmesbury & District Community Transport (MDCT) is fairly unique in that we exist almost exclusively to take elderly people to and from the day centre at Athelstan House and operate morning and afternoon five days a week. This means there are limited opportunities to extend our activities.

Financially these are difficult days as losses approaching £13k were seen last year as Wiltshire Council has gradually been reducing the support it gave to previously qualifying means tested passengers. This support was finally withdrawn in late 2017. We expect the 2019 loss to be in excess of £10k

In fairness MDCT has enjoyed some good years which has meant that we have been able to build up reasonably significant reserves but it is felt that the operation could be in danger of collapsing within the next three or four years.

Beyond the financial issues, there is a significant issue in that many of our passengers are physically and mentally frail and the activities and hot meals provided by Athelstan House are a vital lifeline. Additionally it is clear that several clients would be in danger of becoming isolated from society.

As mentioned operating every day means that we have to pay our staff as finding volunteers for some 250 days a year could well be an organisational nightmare. Our staff are certainly not overpaid.

The Cartmell Community Minibus

Cartmell bus

The Cartmell Minibus, is self-drive and available to any non-commercial community-orientated group for just 95p per mile including fuel and insurance!

If yours is a community group, why not get your friends together for a day out somewhere?

You will need a volunteer to drive, of course; but provided he or she has a clean driving licence, and undertakes a brief introduction to the vehicle and a ‘one-off’ assessment test (for which there is a small fee) your driver can be formally registered as a Cartmell driver. Then your group can be off, driving to ….Well, who knows where? Once your driver is registered you can go as many times as you like!

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The minibus takes up to 17 people (including your driver). Seat-belts are attached to everyseat. It also has a lift and wheelchair securing points for two chairs (though, obviously, that reduces the number of other seats).

For more information and to check availability, contact the Booking Manager through the website: www.cartmelminibus.org.uk or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ‘phone one of 01666 822361 or 01666 829002.

In The Future

In the future The Red Bus and The Cartmell Community Minibus hope to work together more closely and hopefully there will be mutual savings to be seen. Ultimately this could well lead to a formal amalgamation in the future.

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