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APTRA Accessible Public Transport in Rural Areas
The APTRA project was started in 1998 and completed in 2000. The work started in this project is being developed through the ELIXIR project. APTRA considered the effects of a high frequency fully accessible public transport service in rural areas by operating an experimental bus service and examining the opportunities and results. The research included the development of a specification for a low floor fully accessible minibus for public bus services and exploits findings from EXCALIBUR to help design accessible bus stops for rural locations. It also considers ways in which the viability of such a service could be improved by including other inter-village transport services. The public service has been running in the Upper Eden Valley in Cumbria since April 1999. This allows us to test the ways in which such a service could provide opportunities for older people and others who are unable to get about because of a lack of appropriate public transport. The project involved extensive local public participation on all aspects of the service. A user survey conducted in 2000 includes the following outcomes: A high take-up relative to settlement size Changes in shopping patterns A significant use of the bus by young people Use by disabled people Elderly people regaining travelling independence Business use Changes in travel patterns Some regular journeys to work and education
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