AN on-demand minibus service launched to address a lack of public transport in rural areas is booming in the south of the Forest, the county council says.

The Robin is a bookable service designed to pick people up near their homes, for example from known bus stops, and transport them to locations for employment, education, healthcare, shopping and onward travel.

It was launched by Gloucestershire County Council last October in a bid to “improve connections between rural areas”, and to ease the impact of cuts made by Stagecoach across the county.

The service is a £1.35 million pilot scheme for the Forest and the Cotswolds, lasting for two years, and is funded by the Department for Transport’s Rural Mobility Fund.

So far, it has proven to be a real success in the south of the Forest of Dean and in July just under 700 people used the service.

But there is concern over the low uptake in the Cotswolds, with only 165 passengers using it in the same month.

The council is disappointed in the Cotswold uptake, which has been put down to a lack of awareness in the community.

“People still don’t know about the service despite my best efforts,” Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) told a council meeting on September 13.

A marketing campaign is planned to boost numbers in the service’s second year.

People who want to book The Robin or find out more can do so by calling 0345 2638139, or by going online at