Dr Neil Hudson MP marked a significant stride forward in his ongoing Better Connectivity campaign by welcoming a new state-of-the-art smart vehicle for the volunteer Border Rambler Bus Service.
This comes as the Border Rambler team were awarded the Best Regional Rural Bus Service 2023- North West prize at the 5th annual Northern Enterprise Awards and is looking to expand service routes they offer.
Made possible by funding from the National Lottery and local council, the new addition to the Border Rambler fleet will help those in rural North Cumbria to overcome the persistent transport challenges faced due to the area's unique geography.
Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
"This is more than just a vehicle, it's a symbol of progress and a tangible outcome of our Better Connectivity campaign and I am thrilled to see the Border Rambler Bus service equipped with the tools needed to navigate the challenges of rural transport effectively. I really urge folk to come forward if they feel they could become volunteer drivers to help this lifeline service.
"Our Better Connectivity campaign is a steadfast commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all constituents, ensuring that no community is left isolated or underserved.
"I must again extend my sincere thanks to Stephen Higgs and the whole Border Rambler volunteer team who dedicate so much time and effort to strengthen our big society from the grassroots up."
The Border Rambler Trustees added:
“The new bus, delivered in the last few weeks, gives us the chance to expand the service, running on more days and covering new areas. We are looking for ten or twelve new volunteers to join the team of drivers. This involves two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon, with a couple of hours free in Carlisle or Brampton while the passengers are doing their shopping. All the current drivers find volunteering really rewarding, with most taking a turn at the wheel once or twice a month. We are currently talking to Cumberland Council about possible new routes and we would love to get them operational early in 2024.”
One regular passenger, who has used the Border Rambler since it began, commented:
“The Border Rambler is truly a lifeline for many of us who live in isolated places. We are so grateful to the volunteers, and we hope that this appeal will find enough new drivers to enable the service to expand and continue.”
Attended by volunteers, councillors, regular passengers and National Lottery representatives, the launch event at Lanercost Priory provided a picturesque backdrop to underscore the historical importance of addressing contemporary issues.
As Dr Hudson continues to champion improved transport infrastructure, the new smart vehicle is poised to bring about a positive shift in the accessibility and efficiency of transportation in Penrith and The Border.
This follows significant recent developments with HS2 funding being redistributed to two major local bus schemes:
- Dr Neil Hudson MP welcomes over £2 million extra bus funding in Cumbria thanks to HS2 cash reallocation
- Dr Neil Hudson MP welcomes £2 bus fare cap extension thanks to Conservative Government
The Border Rambler Bus Service is always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you are interested in getting involved or finding out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.borderramblerbus.co.uk.