A community bus to help people get around Uppingham more easily and boost town centre footfall is likely to be trialled this year.
Community partnership Uppingham First has been granted a permit to operate a bus service by the Department for Transport.
Uppingham First and Uppingham Town Council have agreed to work with Rutland County Council to provide the service for an initial six-month period.
The bus, seating up to 16 people, would link the outlying areas of the town to the doctor’s surgery, Welland Vale Nurseries and the town centre.
Town councillor Ron Simpson, who also works for Uppingham First, said there were three key objectives for the bus.
“The first is to recognise that Uppingham town centre is on a hill top and many of our residents have to climb up hill to walk into town,” he added.
“This particularly affects the elderly and disabled.
“The second thing is to enable greater us of the town centre by the full population.
“The third thing in particular is to recognise the movement of the doctor’s surgery to the edge of the town, which has meant a lengthy uphill walk for most residents. The route would match surgery opening hours.
“The permit rules are in line with the objectives of Uppingham First. The bus will support the town centre and help residents to get around.”
The bus service would run on a not-for-profit basis, although a nominal fare to cover costs would likely be charged.
The county council’s portfolio holder for environment and transport Martyn Pocock (Con) said: “Uppingham First has been granted a community vehicle operators permit by the Traffic Commissioner and Rutland County Council will be supporting the project by providing a vehicle for an initial period of six months.
“Rutland County Council and Uppingham Town Council have discussed the options for Uppingham and agreed that a community bus would be more appropriate than a traditional bus service, such as the Oakham Hopper, which runs on a fixed schedule.
“The Uppingham bus will be able to respond in a flexible way to meet demand.”
The permit will last for five years. A start date for the trial has not been confirmed.