Launched in a blaze of publicity four months ago, Manea Youth Bus gets its first outing

FOUR months after it was introduced in a blaze of publicity the Fenland Youth Bus enjoyed its first outing on Saturday – taking 11 youngsters and their district councillor to Milton Keynes.

It was the first time the bus had been hired by youngsters following the launch of the 12 month pilot scheme.

The idea is for 13 to 18-year-olds to be able to hire the mini bus from Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT) to get out of Manea for a trip to the cinema, skate part or to meet friends from other villagers.

Slow progress in the take up of the scheme was highlighted at a recent meeting of Fenland District Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Councillor Mark Archer of Manea, who accompanied youngsters to Milton Keynes, told the committee that nobody had been using it.

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He asked what more could be done promote this, and what other plans are in place for transport links for Manea.

Councillor Kit Owen, Cabinet member, said the youth bus was set up following requests from rural communities for better links for young people.

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A report considered by councillors noted that “officers have spent a considerable amount of time on this project and yet since the launch nothing has happened.

“Inquiries have been made by officers as to why this service has not been used and efforts have made to engage but if they do not make use of this service it will be withdrawn to another area.”

A council spokesman said: “As to cost- the bus is an existing FACT bus and the cost of trips is covered by payments by those going. It’s still in its 12-month period as a pilot project and we’re continuing to monitor that.”

Anyone in Manea who would like to book a minibus should call Janet Phillips, the scheme’s local coordinator, on 07793 960097.

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