A free Somerset County Council Taunton town centre shuttle service has been launched to get people straight to their vital vaccination slot.
The Covid vaccination shuttle bus service starts today, Monday 1 March, following feedback, and will run every 30 minutes from Castle Way in Taunton town centre to Taunton Racecourse – one of Somerset’s large vaccination centres.
The seven-day a week service uses one of the Council’s fleet of minibuses and will help to support those who don’t drive and will link easily with other operators coming into the town centre.
This follows other key transport support from the Council and partners including a regular shuttle to Bath and West Showground from Shepton Mallet, the suspension of concessionary buss pass rules for all public services before 9.30am and working with Community Transport and Slinky Demand Response services to allow free travel for bus pass holders attending vaccination appointments.
The new Taunton service starts at 8.20am each day, and will also serve bus stops along South Road and Shoreditch Road on route to the Racecourse. The last bus each day is 6.05pm from the Racecourse.
There will be capacity for a maximum of four passengers on each journey due to the need for social distancing.
The service is reserved for those who have a pre-booked vaccination appointment at the Racecourse and this will be verified before passengers board the bus.
It’s recommended those using the service catch a bus to arrive approximately 10 minutes before their vaccination slot.
“I’m really pleased we’re able to be able to work with the NHS in Somerset and offer this service now there’s a need and get people to their appointments,” said Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.
“For those without their own transport this will be a free, quick, and stress-free way to get to the Racecourse from a handy location in the town centre.
“Please be aware if you want to use the service, spaces have to be limited for each trip so time your journey accordingly.”
Alison Wootton, joint senior responsible officer for the Somerset Vaccination programme said: “We’re really pleased that we can offer this new shuttle bus service and grateful to our colleagues at Somerset County Council for making this happen.
“It’s really important that people attend their vaccination appointments when they are offered across our 20 different locations, and this is a great additional support to help people to come to their appointments at Taunton Racecourse.
“We look forward to welcoming the first people to use the service this week.”
The shuttle service is set to run every day throughout March and April except for the following dates when the vaccination centre is closed for race days: 4, 15 and 23 March; 8 and 21 April.
Members of the public using the buses are reminded that face coverings are mandatory at all times.
The service will initially operate as a trial over a number of weeks, to gauge the number of people who want to take advantage of the service.