- Rural transport,
- Taxi-based public transport services,
- Social inclusion,
- Rural accessibility and public transport,
- Transport disadvantage
Bus based public transport has enjoyed revitalisation in many urban areas but outside large towns and cities its provision and quality remains erratic. Many rural settlements have infrequent services giving rise to social exclusion through transport disadvantage. The UK Government highlighted a need in Towards a Sustainable Transport System (2007) for radical new thinking on rural accessibility to help meet goals of quality of life and accessibility for all and to help meet the challenge in finding carbon friendly ways of meeting rural transport needs. This paper reports work undertaken for the Commission for Integrated Transport, an advisory body to UK Government, on how shared taxi-schemes could be developed within a deregulated environment to meet rural accessibility needs. This is based on an analysis of institutional barriers and comparison between successful mainland European schemes and UK schemes. The paper considers economic viability and the levels of subsidy currently used to provide accessibility in rural areas to show the potential for making current expenditure on rural transport in the UK ‘work harder’ to deliver a collective taxi-based service as part of the public transport mix so as to increase rural accessibility.