FENLANDER: Youth bus hits the road in Manea

YOUNG people in Manea can now hire a minibus to take them where they want to go for an evening out or at weekends.

The Fenland Youth Bus was launched on Saturday at the Manea Gala. It is a pilot scheme that will run for 12 months. Then, if it proves successful, it could be rolled out to other parts of the district.

The initial pilot will cater for 13-18-years-olds in Manea only. They will be able to hire a minibus from the Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT) to go to places of their choice such as the cinema or skate park or just to meet friends from a different village.

FACT has a choice of vehicles available for hire, ranging from four-seaters to 16-seaters. The cost of hiring one will depend upon the number of passengers and the distance travelled. Return journeys to the cinema in Peterborough or the skate park in King’s Lynn are likely to cost each passenger about �6 return.

For legal reasons, anyone aged under 16 will need to be accompanied on the minibus by an adult who has been enhanced CRB checked. No chaperone is needed once they reach their destination.

The pilot scheme has been drawn up by Fenland District Council’s Transport and Access Group. Over the past year it has been working with the Youth District Council (YDC), Cambridgeshire County Council and FACT to explore alternative transport options for young people on evenings and weekends.

Siana Rawlings, the YDC’s chairperson, said: “For many months, the YDC has been campaigning for better transport for young people. This is the sort of thing we have been looking for. It’s a really good scheme and we think it’ll be a real success in Manea – that will help to make sure the idea is taken up elsewhere in future.”

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Councillor Kit Owen, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for transport, said: “Transport is a big issue for young people in Fenland and many do feel a bit trapped in their villages. A lot of work has gone into this project and it has taken time but now we’ve finally got a youth bus on the road.

“It gives young people in Manea a chance to get to all the places they want to go and I hope a lot of them make full use of it.”

*Anyone in Manea who would like to book a minibus should call Janet Phillips, the scheme’s local coordinator, on 07793 960097. If you would like to help as a transport volunteer, please contact Gail Reynolds or Ross McGivern at FDC on 01354 654321.

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