THE FORFARIAN Community Bus Trust is stepping up a gear in their efforts to find some £25,000 to get a new bus on the road by the autumn.
For years the Forfarian has provided a unique, very affordable transport service for local voluntary groups including churches, disabled and sheltered housing residents, residents’ associations and the elderly and infirm.
The bus is well used by these groups and for many users is regarded as essential for maintaining social contact.
However, the present vehicle, which is six years old and has completed 70,000 kilometres, has now reached the end of its working life.
The Trust is a small charitable organisation which has been in operation since the 1980s.
It is run by a voluntary committee, presently chaired by Kate McFarlane.
The volunteer bus co-ordinator, Jim Myles, is in charge of all operational aspects including the organising of the ten volunteer drivers.
In 2012 the bus, which can carry 16 passengers, or 13 passengers and three wheelchairs, carried out a total of 86 extended day trips to various locations.
These included the Falkirk Wheel and Duthie Park in Aberdeen, involving 22 individual organisations.
It also undertook 197 local journeys to convey members of the 10 regular weekly user groups to the venues of their weekly meetings.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: “For many of the elderly, the infirm and wheelchair users, this is often their only means of attending these social occasions and events. Without the Forfarian this would not be possible.”
The Trust has now begun seeking funds to replace the current vehicle and, as a community trust, stress they depend on community contributions.
The spokesperson continued: “Small donations are received from time to time from service user groups and individuals and this provides a basis on which to build fund-raising.
“Our objective during the coming months is to raise in the region of £25,000 towards the purchase cost.”
The Trust is now appealing to local businesses to come forward to offer their support. Any contributions should be sent to the Forfar Community Bus Treasurer, Duncan Baxter, 60 Priory Road, Forfar.
It is hoped that, if successful with their fund-raising efforts, the Trust will be able to launch a new Forfarian on the road in the autumn.