Taxis on tap

Taxi sign.SGD. 17734
Taxi sign.SGD. 17734

MONEY left in the transport budget could change lives for locals . . . if only they knew about it!

Councillors met with local groups this week to look at further investment, particularly the little-known Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service, from West Lothian Council. DRT includes the new Taxibus, offering a top up service to specific rural areas which don’t have good bus links. It is registered as a local bus service meaning that those who qualify for travel concessions can ride for free and others can use it for the same cost as a bus fare. The taxis need to be pre-booked at least an hour in advance, run to a timetable, and operate 7am-7pm on Monday to Saturday.

But Evelyn Woollen, secretary at Newton Community Council, said it needed to be better advertised: “As far as I am aware, community councils are not aware of this. We are terribly served by buses, and it is unlikely this will change in a small community.

‘‘Both Newton and Philpstoun youth clubs are suffering from falling numbers - there is no longer a bus service for kids to use. Had we known about this, it could be something we publicised.”

Martyn Day, executive councillor for development and transport, said: “The DRT service is an efficient way to move small numbers of people around, especially for those in rural areas, not covered by buses. But anyone can use it - it’s a great idea and a cheaper way of travelling. There’s a lot of scope for development, but the public need to know more about what is available.”

In the Journal and Gazette area, a Taxibus service covering the Newton and Woodend area to Winchburgh is operated by Glenn’s Private Hire (01506 500578) and the Beecraigs area to Linlithgow route is operated by All the Fours (01506 444444), and ask for the DRT service. On a four month average, there were 29 call outs a month on the Newton-Winchburgh route, almost one per day.

Pauline Andrews, a Linlithgow Link coordinator met with the council this week, and said: “We provide a voluntary visiting and car service for those who cannot access public transport in Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge. One possibility is to use our model for West Lothian. We do get enquiries from outlying areas such as Threemiletown.’’

Full details will be decided by WLC later this year.