Coggeshall Community Bus is one of the features that attract many people to the village. It allows many residents of our lovely village to commute to London pretty easily without having to manage the hassle (and cost) of the car park. At the same time, it is also an environmentally friendly way to travel, cutting down on cars on the road and doing a little bit to help reduce emissions.
The bus is also a lifeline for residents who are less able to get around – providing transport to the shops, market, doctors’ surgery and other central destinations.
Most of you who use the bus (and those who don’t!) know that this bus and the valuable service it provides only exists thanks to the dedication of the team of men and women (past and present) who volunteer to drive it. This means that it is always at risk of being unable to operate.
Unfortunately, the team find themselves in a position where there is currently a serious shortage of drivers. This means if new volunteers do not step forward, then the service really does face the risk of being compromised.
Now to tell you a bit about the bus and why you should volunteer.
The bus is automatic and pretty easy to drive. For most people*, it can be driven on a standard car driving licence but full training is also provided.
The service runs Monday to Friday, with morning and evening runs between Coggeshall and Kelvedon station. The “round the village” service runs each Tuesday and Thursday between 9:45 and 12 noon. With the operation being spread in this way it gives plenty of scope for volunteers to decide which is best for them. Even committing to one session a month would be a huge help in spreading the load.
As well as being able to put something back to the community, you would get to be involved in a fantastic social group. There is an annual event to say thanks for everyone who helps out and you get to know so many people through the driving.
Given all of the above, if you have a bit of spare time on your hands (remember, even enough to cover one session a month) and would like to contribute to the community, then the team behind the bus would love for you to get involved. You could be part of safeguarding the future of a Coggeshall icon.
For more information please contact Mike Stockley on 01376 561904 or visit www.coggeshallbus.co.uk and follow the instructions on the home page.
*Drivers who passed their car driving test before 1st January 1997 will normally have a D1 (101) – minibus, not for hire or reward – entitlement on their licence. Other conditions may apply.