Appeal ignites new interest in Forfarian mini bus

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New committee members will provide the driving force for the future of the Forfarian mini bus.

Earlier in the month an urgent appeal was launched to find new committee members to stop the bus being run off the road after current members expressed the desire to retire.

The bus has served Forfar and the surrounding district since 1981, providing transport for the elderly, disabled and other groups.

The service is run by the bus co-ordinator who, along with four others, make up the small voluntary committee - the Forfar Community Bus Trust, a registered Scottish charity.

Kate McFarlane, Trust chairperson, told us following the appeal they now have the committee members they need to keep the bus on the road.

She said: “It’s going to continue.

“It’s a great relief because it is so well used within the community, especially by disabled groups and sheltered housing residents.

“I’ll be a relief to them that it is still going to be able to continue.”

Mrs MacFarlane, plus the co-ordinator and treasurer, all wish to retire after serving more than 45 years between them.

Mrs MacFarlane added: “I can step back now because I have been involved for 20 years.

“Now it’s time for somebody else to take over and run it.

“We could still do with some drivers but they need to have a D1 licence to be able to drive the bus.”

In a typical year, the Forfarian, which can carry 16 passengers or 13 passengers and two wheelchairs, notches up 80-plus extended day trips for more than 20 individual Forfar-based organisations.

The 10 volunteer drivers also undertake almost 170 local journeys to convey members of the nine regular weekly user groups to their meetings.

Mrs MacFarlane explained the current bus is two years old and still has a lot of life left in it.

Forfar Community Bus Trust started a fundraising drive in 2013 to raise £25,000 to purchase the present bus.

The previous vehicle was six years old and reached the end of its working life after completing 70,000 kilometres.