Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

On-demand minibus scheme leaves Jurby residents stranded, MHK says

Bus Vannin Minibus Image copyright IOM GOV
Image caption The door-to-door services can be booked by phone or online

A minibus scheme introduced after cuts to off-peak bus services has left many people feeling stranded, said an MHK.

Although a trial of the on-demand service was seen as "positive" in Bride and Andreas, it was "not working" for people in Jurby, said Tim Baker.

Residents told a public meeting that the minibuses, which must be booked a day in advance, did not "match their needs."

The Isle of Man government said it was considering its "next steps".

Public transport on the island is funded by the government and run by Bus Vannin.

A trial of the scheme, which connects Andreas, Bride and Maughold villages with Ramsey, was launched in December 2018 before being extended to Jurby in April this year.

Service 'doesn't exist'

On-demand services were intended to be "more flexible and cost-effective" than the off-peak bus services they replaced which had run "well below capacity", said the Department of Infrastructure.

But Allan Thompson, who lives in the area, said that, while the remaining bus services "work well", getting around outside of those times was "difficult".

"Booking a bus 24 hours in advance isn't workable," he added.

Mr Baker said the overriding sentiment in Jurby, especially among young people, was that the new services "weren't good".

"They might want to just jump on a bus and go and meet their mates, perhaps without a great deal of forward planning."

The unintended consequence of the new service was that it was actually "restricting people's mobility", added Mr Baker.

He also said the perception among many people was that the service "doesn't exist" during the day.

More than 6,000 passengers have used the service since it began.

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