FARES on The Robin minibus service are being capped at £2 until the end of next year thanks to new government funding.
The new reduced fare on the service, run by Gloucestershire County Council, will come into effect this Friday (December 1) and will run until December 31, 2024.
An adult fare of up to seven miles currently costs £2.50 and a journey of over seven miles costs £4, but these will be reduced to £2.
A child fare for up to a seven-mile journey will remain at £1.50, but for a journey of over seven miles the price will be reduced from £3 to £2. As always, concessionary free travel remains available on The Robin.
The costs will be recovered from the Department for Transport under its Bus Fare Cap Grant, which covers the Forest of Dean and north Cotswolds Robin services.
The Robin journeys to chosen destinations or links users up with other public transport. The service is open to anyone in the geographical areas served.
It has no fixed routes and uses innovative technology to group passengers together in real time, with bookings taken anywhere from two weeks to an hour in advance.
Anyone can book the service on the web, by phone or on the app.
Cllr Philip Robinson, cabinet member with responsibility for buses at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “It’s great news that fares on The Robin are being capped at £2 for the whole of next year and December this year.
“The Robin has been doing an excellent job of serving our residents, getting them into communities and connecting them with town centres, and I hope this will encourage even more people to use the service.”
It comes after Forest of Dean MP and Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper championed the service following a ride on The Robin to Lydney in October.
Mr Harper said of the service: “The Robin is a great way for people in Gloucestershire to get from A to B, access medical appointments and see loved ones. Backed by Government funding, the service will continue to boost local transport connections by expanding the service to more communities in the Forest and across the county.”
Cllr Robinson, also in attendance for Mr Harper’s visit, said: “We’re very, very proud of it as the County Council, it’s been likened by some people as a glorified taxi service or glorified dial-a-ride - it’s far more than that."
The council has also proposed expanding the service north of the A40 into Newent and the surrounding areas, using part of the £4.4 million allocated to Gloucestershire from the Department for Transport’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSPI+).