A VITAL bus service in South Lanarkshire that received £41,000 of funding from a nearby windfarm and a leading Scottish charity has announced plans to expand its services.

Climate Action Strathaven (CAS) first launched its bus service in October 2022 after concerns of poor transport links isolating elderly community members and impacting student’s university commute.

The service in 2022 received £19,500 in Grant Funding from renewables firm Banks Renewables and £21,500 from the national walking charity Paths for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund. The 3C bus service has expanded to offer twice as many services between Strathaven, Stonehouse & Glasgow.

The bus service travels between Strathaven in South Lanarkshire to Glasgow and has seen around 42,000 tickets issued from the 10th October 2022 to the end of June 2023. It is estimated that the buses have saved 510,000 car miles taking approximately 235 tonnes of C02 off the road.

Alison Harley, Programme Manager for Climate Action Strathaven said: “The impact the bus service has had on our community cannot be understated, it has been genuinely transformative.

“There has been a need for this service for a very long time in South Lanarkshire and we are really pleased we were not only able to set up a bus service but now be in the position to expand.”

“We’ve extended our service’s timetables in direct response to local demand. Before the bus, young people studying in Glasgow couldn’t get public transport to classes and some elderly people were really struggling with loneliness and a lack of independence – we’re certain the bus service has supported people in those tough circumstances.

“Like everything we do at Climate Action Strathaven, a massive element of this project is to cut emissions, promoting active travel in the area. Those values align perfectly with Banks Renewables and Paths for All, so we’re over the moon to be getting such important support from them both.”

Until the bus service, Strathaven students studying in Glasgow could not get public transport, a lot of which were forced to find accommodation in Scotland’s biggest city – adding financial pressures to themselves and their families.

Climate Action Strathaven is a community led climate action group who look to raise awareness about the climate crisis as well as creating a more sustainable future for the people of Strathaven.

The project was supported by national walking charity Paths for All which aims to give everyone the opportunity to walk to create a happier, healthier, greener Scotland.

Graham McQueen, Manager of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme at Paths For All said: “Climate Action Strathaven have gone from strength to strength since the launch of their bus service and it is clear there is a demand for more accessible and sustainable modes of travel. The bus service is a lifeline to their local community.

“Supporting communities through initiatives like the bus service is crucial to helping people thrive, especially in rural areas. We are delighted to support them throughout this journey.”

The project received funding through Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Community Fund (KMCP), which was set up to provide financial assistance to community groups, voluntary organisations and communities local to the areas surrounding its Kype Muir wind project.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability, and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables said: “It’s really encouraging to see how much of an impact the bus service has had on the community of Strathaven, and we’re all delighted to hear that it’s been such a success.

“The bus project is a great example of what our funding grants are aiming to achieve, which is to invest in local communities to help them build and improve on vital services, creating better communities.”

For additional information about Climate Action Strathaven, please visit: https://castrathaven.org/

For more information on Paths for All, please visit https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/

To find out more about Banks Renewables, please visit https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/renewables/

To find out more about the SCSP Open Fund, please visit https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/active-travel/scsp/open-fund