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Image credit: WWT and Ben Kenobi

Slimbridge Shuttle pilot 

Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership and WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre launched the shuttle service to connect the communities of Cam, Dursley and Slimbridge with the railway station at Cam & Dursley and the famous Slimbridge Wetland Centre. The pilot scheme ran for just over 3 months to test the appetite for this type of service that connects the local community and key visitor attraction in the area. 

 

The weekend-only service was the first of its kind in Gloucestershire. It was commissioned by Gloucester Community Rail Partnership and was run by Community Connexions, with support from Cross Country trains and GWR. 

 

As well as taking passengers from the station to Cam, Dursley and Slimbridge, the service gave local residents access to main line trains to and from Bristol, Cheltenham and Gloucester using public transport. The Slimbridge Shuttle was also designed with visitors to the area in mind, stopping at Shepherd’s Patch on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, near the Tudor Arms pub, Black Shed café and Tudor Caravan Park.

 

The 16-seater bus service ran hourly, from around 8 am to 6 pm, on Saturdays and Sundays for summer 2023. The route started from the south end of Dursley town and stopped at Dursley bus station, Cam village, Cam & Dursley Station, Slimbridge village, Shepherd’s Patch and Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Calling in at Cam & Dursley station on the way to and from Slimbridge, taking rail passengers to Cam & Dursley villages as well as dropping off Slimbridge visitors at the station. 

 

Fares were capped at just £1 for a single journey or £2 for a return, with contactless payment and cash accepted. Bus pass holders and WWT volunteers were able to travel free, and there were concessions for under 18s. There was also one wheelchair space bookable in advance. 

 

WWT Head of Sustainability Lucy Smith who helped to develop the service said:  

“WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre is really pleased to be part of this service which will enable our existing and new visitors to come to the site without needing to bring a car.  We hope it gets good levels of uptake during the trial to make the case to retain and expand the service in the future. I’ll be using it to visit the site and go to the station at the weekends!” 

The map below shows the route of the service. 

The pilot has now come to an end and a report of the service and findings can be accessed here. 

Route map.jpg

FAQs 

 

Who will be running the service? 

The Slimbridge Shuttle is a joint project between Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership and Community Connexions. 

Community Connexions is a local community transport charity with a track record of providing high quality transport services, including public bus services. It also provides dial-a-ride and door-to-door transport. https://communityconnexions.org.uk/  

 

Where are the stops? 

The services will use existing bus stops, with the exception of the stop at WWT Slimbridge, which will be located in the visitor car park and clearly signed. 

Passengers can be picked up or dropped off at any stop along the route, including: Nunnery Lane, Woodmancote; Dursley Bus Station; Dursley Police Station; Cam Pitch; Fairmead; Draycott Crescent; Cam & Dursley Station; Slimbridge Beehive Stores, Shepherds Patch; WWT Slimbridge. 

 

How much does it cost? 

Adult fares are £1 for a single journey anywhere along the route, £2 for a return, and £3 for a Day Rover with unlimited journeys in a 24 hour period. Under 18 fares are £1 for a single or a return. Concessionary bus pass holders and WWT Slimbridge staff and volunteers travel free (please bring your name badge). 

Do you take cash and/or cards? 

The bus is equipped with a contactless payment machine and can also take cash. In addition, mobile tickets will soon be available in advance via the myTrip by Passenger app. We will update when this is added. Please note that this does not pre-book a seat on the service.

 

Is the bus accessible for wheelchair users? 

The bus is a standard 16-seat minibus but is adapted to take one wheelchair user. Users wishing to pre-book the wheelchair space are advised to contact Community Connexions between 9-5 Monday-Friday: https://communityconnexions.org.uk/contact/   

 

Can I take my dog? 
Assistance dogs are permitted, other dogs are allowed at the driver’s discretion. Please note that Slimbridge Wetland Centre does not admit dogs other than assistance dogs. 

How long will I have to wait for a bus or train? 

The bus service runs every hour, and is designed to match up with train arrivals and departures from Cam & Dursley, particularly in the Bristol direction. Waiting times are typically less than ten minutes for travellers to and from Bristol and around 25 minutes for trains to and from Gloucester.  

 

What if my connecting train is running late? 

The service has been planned to be as flexible as possible with train connection times. We would advise passengers to check for live travel updates via the National Rail mobile app or website, particularly towards the end of the day. 

Local taxi services are also available (advance booking required): Cam and Dursley Taxi 

07475 313151; Phill Collett Private Hire 01453 547 566; PMD Taxis 07860 950793 

 

Why is the bus service only at weekends? 

The service is being launched as part of a pilot project run by Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership with the support of the Cross Country Trains Customer and Communities Improvement Fund, on a limited budget. The service could be expanded in future if sufficient demand is shown and it will also be a case study for similar services in other areas of Gloucestershire. 

 

Will the service be extended to more destinations? 

The Slimbridge Shuttle service has been created with some key aims in mind, including frequency of service and connection with trains. For this reason, it’s being run over a relatively small area at present - although this might change in the future if it receives extra support. 

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