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Community transport idea for Dannevirke

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Community transport idea for Dannevirke

Community vehicle trusts are changing the way people get around smaller towns across New Zealand and it’s an idea that’s currently on the cards for Dannevirke residents.

Rural communities and small towns often experience situations where there is a lack of public transport and a decreasing or non-existent taxi service.

Community vehicle trusts are owned and operated by the community, with vehicles driven by local volunteers to the benefit of local people needing transport. Several such trusts have been operating successfully in the Canterbury Region for a number of years.

Horizons Regional Council, Mid Central Public Health Services, Tararua District Council and the Dannevirke Community Board along with representatives from several other local groups in Dannevirke are working together to bring the concept to the Tararua, starting with Dannevirke.

A public discussion is being held at Grey Power’s next meeting, 1.30pm Wednesday 25 June at The Hub, to talk through how a community vehicle trust could work.

Horizons Regional Council road safety coordinator Debbie Webster says “from a road safety perspective, there may be older drivers who are no longer medically fit to drive safely, or who may just be feeling more nervous about driving in todays busy road environments. Many of these drivers are reluctant to stop driving because they feel they will then have to rely on family and friends to transport them around”.

“If they knew there was another transport option available which allowed them to retain their independence they may be more likely to take that step and retire from driving,” she says.

The use of a community vehicle wouldn’t just be limited to older people. It would also provide a transport option to community members with disabilities, those who don’t hold a driver’s licence or people who have no other means of transport available to them during the day such as families where one partner has to take the family car to work.

Providing transport options in the community also helps the sustainability of local infrastructure such as supermarkets and other businesses and keeps rural areas and small towns viable and thriving.

Dannevirke Community Board member Bob Dresser says a community vehicle would be designed to complement rather than compete against other providers such as the St John Health Shuttle, which provides transport to medical appointments within and outside of the district.

“The idea is that it would work alongside the shuttle, providing transport to the supermarket, other shops around town, meetings or other appointments usually within the town boundary. Those using the service will be expected to contribute a small fee to cover the running costs of each trip,” he says.

All are welcome to attend the public meeting regarding the community vehicle concept. This is being held during at the next Grey Power meeting at The Hub, on Wednesday 25th June at 1.30pm. If anyone would like to express a view or attend this meeting they are asked to contact Bob Dresser on 06 374 6270.

ENDS


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