Rural communities need affordable transport solutions that deliver services to places and at times that communities need. These solutions are best when they are developed by the community, often in partnership with a range of providers.
Rural areas have experienced an erosion of facilities and services and as such, the need for transport is an inevitable consequence of living in a rural area if people are to access a range of essential services in nearby towns.
There are 4 main transport issues that affect people living in rural communities: access to services, access to training and employment, strategic transport problems and road safety.
People in rural areas travel more miles compared to the population overall. Small communities cannot support the range of jobs and services enjoyed by rural populations and for those without their own transport, the elderly, the young and those with mobility problems, access to services is a real problem. These are often the least able to afford the high costs of transport and research shows, that people on lower incomes pay a higher proportion of their income on transport costs.
To access healthcare, jobs, schools and higher education, rural people have to travel further and spend more of their income on transport. Smaller rural primary schools are under constant threat and their closure can have a significant impact on the local community particularly when they house extended services, local activity and social interaction for parents, and other residents.
Rural pubs, shops and garages also face considerable challenges and loss of these vital services can mean a real difference between being able to stay in a village or having to move to a town.