Glenkens Transport Initiative

Glenkens Transport Survey

The Group
Glenkens Community and Arts Trust (GCAT) was set up to help combat rural isolation through a range of community initiatives including high quality arts events. Glenkens is a rural area in Dumfries & Galloway with a population of 1,700.  GCAT also runs the Glenkens Transport Initiative, a community minibus available to local groups.

What were they trying to achieve?
The main question was how GCAT could provide a better service to meet the community's needs and maximise use of the minibus.  Glenkens Transport Initiative conducted the research with Dumfries & Galloway Accessible Transport Forum.  They wanted information about people's transport needs to plan for a local Transport Strategy to improve public transport.  The research took in a slightly wider area than Glenkens, to include settlements such as Laurieston and Corsock that were served, or likely to be served, by the minibus or other local transport.

How did they go about it?
Three local people were trained as researchers.  A questionnaire was sent to households in the area.  The survey response rate was 39 percent: over 400 questionnaires were returned, providing information from over 800 people.  Interviews were done with a number of people involved in local community activities to help design the questionnaire.  The survey results and possible options were presented at public meetings.  The researchers also looked at the experiences of other transport initiatives in Dumfries & Galloway, and elsewhere, including Wales.

What did they learn?
The survey provided information on levels of car ownership, journey patterns, and reasons why people could not use busses (e.g. living far from a public road, carrying heavy or bulky loads).  The interviews showed that there was some confusion about the purpose and availability of the existing minibus and that more work is required to increase awareness of this service.  The minibus service was, however, valued by those who had used it.  Some of the more common concerns were the lack of public transport in the evenings or early mornings, or connections to rail stations or airports.  Respondents made many specific comments and suggestions about public transport that were used to draw up proposals.

What difference did it make?
As a result of the survey, new routes will be piloted with the aim of starting new scheduled services.  The research led to more people becoming involved in groups to take forward new initiatives.  The process also increased the links with the Accessible Transport Forum and the local authority's transport services.