The latest development in bus vannin’s demand responsive transport trial will take place next week with the launch of connectVILLAGES.
From Monday 3 December, the on-demand minibus service will link the villages of Andreas, Bride and Maughold with Ramsey, allowing travel anywhere within the area or to where customers are able to connect with a standard service bus.
The service will have no dedicated timetable or route as it will be determined entirely by demand from bookings. Customers can be collected from their home, subject to adequate vehicle access, and dropped off at their destination. Other passengers who are booked in and heading in the same direction may be collected along the way.
Standard fares will apply for the service, which will run Monday-Saturday, 9am to 7pm.
The trial will replace most journeys on services 16, 17, 18 and 20 when a new bus timetable comes into force on December 17, allowing a two-week bedding-in period when both will be in operation. Peak hour services will continue and school buses are unaffected.
The launch follows the successful implementation of connectPORTS, where people from the north can travel to the airport alongside those being taken to attend off-Island healthcare appointments by bus vannin as part of the pilot patient transfer scheme. The connectPORTS service will be extended to customers in Peel, St John’s and Baldrine from December 3, and further afield in the new year, before covering the whole Island from February.
Jason Moorhouse, Member with responsibility for Public Transport, said: ‘The trial for connectVILLAGES is all about convenience and social inclusion – many areas in the north are not serviced by a regular bus route and this will provide people with the opportunity to travel more freely.
‘The launch follows the success of the trial for connectPORTS, which will be rolled out to other areas of the Island over the next few weeks. More than 500 passengers have taken advantage of the service so far, with lots of positive feedback on how it has been implemented.’
A series of road shows will take place to help residents know more about connectVILLAGES:
- Ramsey Courthouse: Monday 3 December, 2-4pm; Wednesday 5 December, 2-4pm; Saturday 8 December, 11am-1pm; Wednesday 12 December, 2-4pm
- Maughold Church: Wednesday 12 December, 10am-midday
Bookings for connectVILLAGES can be made straightaway by calling 697440 between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. An online booking system is in the final stages of testing and will be available in due course at www.bus.im/connect. Journeys can be booked up to 21 days in advance or until 4pm on the day prior to departure.