SOMERSET NEWS: Campaigners disappointed MPs and councillors aren’t getting on board with public transport request
A CAMPAIGN group which is trying to improve public transport in Somerset has had a poor response from the people it is trying to reach.
The Everybody Get On Board group is made up of members of the community in Somerset who want the authorities to reprioritise the public transportation network in Somerset and make it work better for local people and become more environmentally and socially sustainable.
Campaign spokesman Melissa Whittaker-Mather said they had requested all of Somerset’s county councillors and five MPs to commit to using the public transport network – including cycle paths and public footpaths – under the initiative “Live It, Love It and Learn.”
The initiative started on January 15, 2018, and will end on February 11, 2018, but so far out of 60 people who were contacted just four have responded – three from county councillors and just one MP.
Melissa, who lives in Chard, said: “The aim of this is to encourage them to be placed in the shoes of a person with no transport and to "Live it, Love it and Learn".
“We want them to "live it" and work their schedules around the transport network as countless members of the public do every day, and if need be, adjust their schedules or make use of alternative provisions.
“We them to "love it" and preferably make more use of public transport so the phrase 'use it or lose it' is actively demonstrated by them.
“And we want them to “learn" from the experience preferably with the view to reprioritise this.
“It is a perfect opportunity for them to engage with members of the public and potentially a fantastic marketing opportunity for them!”
Melissa added: “There are places in Somerset that has no access to any public transport provisions and people are struggling based on our responses to gain access to alternative methods of transport on offer. There are many areas that have no evening services and no Sunday services.
“As members of the community are we expected to function within the limited time-frame or, in some cases, non-existent public transportation network within Somerset? It seems only reasonable that our MPs and county councillors should experience this.
“As they are in a position to influence change, they should embrace the changes that they have enabled by failing to act and potentially gain some first-hand experience which may motivate them to be more proactive.”
The Everybody Get On Board campaign is being spearheaded by Melissa along with the support of others including Jill White and Victoria and Connor.
“We have already attended County Hall and created a petition which includes the request for a transport needs analysis,” said Melissa. “We have both online and paper petitions in some communities and are due to move into other areas of the county soon.
“Many of those who have contacted have said how they are either unable to gain access to transport or that the services in place are limited and have missed work opportunities, education opportunities and are unable to attend social and medical appointments .
“Many have not been able to gain access to alternative forms of transport such as community or voluntary lead transport due to either no availability or the cost with some costing £50 for one journey.”
If anyone would like to join Everybody Get On Board please search the group out on Facebook and private message or email firstname.lastname@example.org .