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Fund will support training for around 60 new minibus drivers
Community transport has been given a boost thanks to a Scottish Government grant to support minibus driver training.
Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands announced the £150,000 funding at the Community Transport Association (CTA) Conference in Edinburgh.
Car drivers who passed their car driving test after 1 January 1997 are not able to drive minibuses without undertaking additional training and a separate driving test. The cost of minibus driver training, the driving test and associated costs are around £1200 per person, which can be a struggle for small community transport providers to afford. The aim of the initiative is to support training for around 60 people over the next three years. It is hoped that in time, these drivers will then go on to train others to drive minibuses.
Mr Yousaf said:
"The Scottish Government is committed to our communities and providing transport that meets the needs of many of our most vulnerable and isolated citizens.
"The community transport sector is highly valued by those who are unable to access conventional public transport services, not just because it gets them from A to B but also in the social benefits it provides.
"The costs of driver training for the community sector is often seen as prohibitive, leading to shortages in legally qualified minibus drivers. This funding helps alleviate this issue and secure the operation of many community transport services across the country."
This programme will help provide a pool of highly trained drivers and future instructors to support the long-term sustainability of the sector.
It will also develop a specific training manual for use well after the lifetime of the scheme. CTA will administer the Scheme on behalf of Transport Scotland.
1. Anyone who passed the standard driving test prior to 01 January 1997 has automatic entitlement to drive a minibus (vehicle category D).
2. Those passing their standard driving test after that date no longer have automatic entitlement and have to pass a separate D1 test to be legally qualified to drive a minibus.