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The Rural Mobility Fund

The Rural Mobility Fund 

Essex County Council is pleased to announce that two bids have been submitted to the Rural Mobility Fund organised by the Department of Transport.

The Rural Mobility Fund has two key objectives;

  • To trial demand responsive transport solutions in providing transport services which work better for local residents of rural and suburban areas than traditional transport services (i.e. timetabled bus services)
  • To identify barriers and potential solutions to the sustainability of demand responsive transport

The total funding available is £20 million and each project can bid for between £0.5 million and £1.5 million. Further information on the fund is available on the website.

The two proposed schemes that Essex County Council seeks funding for are both digitally based (similar to an Uber Pool service), flexible and would be delivered using fully-electric minibuses:

  • South Braintree Digital Demand Responsive Transport (D-DRT) – This scheme would provide corner-to-corner mobility within Rayne, Great Notley and Black Notley, whilst also serving the three business parks in Braintree (Skyline 120, Horizon 120, and Springwood Industrial Park) and offer a connection to the Braintree Bus Interchange, Railway Station and Community Hospital; and
  • Central Essex Square D-DRT – This scheme covers the area encapsulated by the A120/A131/A1060/B184, offering ‘first/last-leg’ journeys to transport interchanges for onward travel and corner-to-corner mobility within the area.  This will enable passengers to connect with Stansted and Southend airports, Chelmer Valley P&R, Anglia Ruskin University, Broomfield Hospital and more destinations without needing to use a car.

Both incorporate use of the UK’s first Electric Forecourt on the outskirts of Braintree District Council and would proudly promote it’s green and sustainable credentials. 

The timetable for the two-stage process is as follows:



Stage 1 bids submitted to DfT 4 June 2020
DfT announce bids progressing to Stage 2 Summer 2020
Shortlisted bids co-produce full business case with DfT Summer/Autumn 2020
DfT announce successful bids Autumn 2020
Preparing for implementation Spring 2021
Scheme ‘go-live’   April 2021*
*subject to change

Full copies of the bids submitted, including maps, tables and letters of support are available in the document section below.