£25m rural transport fund opens

A £25m fund to provide minibuses for hundreds of rural communities is opening for applications.

Rural charities are being urged to apply to the community transport minibus fund when it opens on Monday (1 December).

The Department for Transport has now published full criteria for applying for the fund so organisations across England can begin to prepare their applications.

Community groups have until 15 January 2015 to apply to the fund. Those that choose to do so must complete an online form, which is available here.

The government unveiled the community transport minibus fund earlier this autumn.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Local voluntary transport providers give so much to their local area and our community minibus fund will help support their work further.

"This large fund will secure hundreds of minibuses and we are offering a long application time to give everyone a chance to apply.

"I encourage community transport organisations across England to begin preparing their applications now so we can receive as many as possible."

The government said the online application process would be available on the Department for Transport's website from Monday, 1 December 2014.

The fund is focused on existing voluntary and third sector organisations that already have a permit to run not-for-profit services of benefit to the local community.

Smaller operators and those who help out in rural areas will be favoured in the scheme.

Each bidder will need to undertake that the vehicle will be used only for voluntary services and will not be used to compete for bus service contracts.


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