New driver joins Harpenden community bus scheme

PUBLISHED: 14:08 05 September 2017

Harpenden Hopper driver Judie Caunce.

Harpenden Hopper driver Judie Caunce.

Archant

A community bus service launched to tackle social isolation around Harpenden has taken on its latest driver.

The Harpenden Hopper bus service was launched last September following talks between businessman and church member Andy Buchanan and former Town Mayor Cllr Rosemary Farmer.

Andy had noticed many residents who live and work in Harpenden were not well served by local transport, and was worried this could lead to them feeling isolated and alone.

Local residents subsequently formed the Harpenden Hopper team, and set about exploring how to put a community bus service into action.

After three years of gruelling hard work setting up the charity Harpenden Connect, they were able to run the Harpenden Hopper using volunteer drivers.

The first female driver to pass her training is events company director Judie Caunce, who has qualified almost a year after the community bus hit the road.

Judie said she is thoroughly enjoying helping the community: “I’ve always liked driving and it’s great to combine something you like doing with something useful for the community. My friends will tell you I am much more useful driving a bus than baking cakes!”

The community bus provides local residents with the freedom to get out and meet new people, and the ‘hop-on hop-off service covers the Roundwood area and Harpenden town centre. The project has grown rapidly and hopes to continue to expand its team of volunteer drivers.

Harpenden Hopper operations director Adrian Lumley-Smith added: “We have been delighted with the response from volunteer drivers since the Hopper project started, and we would encourage others to join. The more drivers there are, the more we can expand the bus service to the Harpenden community. If you like driving, and enjoy meeting people, we would love to hear from you.”

The bus service runs from Tuesday to Thursday 9.30am to 4.30pm. The cost is just £2 for an adult single journey, £1 for children under 16. Senior bus passes are accepted.

For more information about volunteering, or about the route and timetable, visit www.harpendenhopper.co.uk or call 01582 638007.

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