Hoy and Eday residents now have access to low carbon, electric community transport services.
The Hoy Development Trust and the Eday Partnership have both received two electric people-carriers, owned and operated by each community group to provide local transport.
Support was provided by Community Energy Scotland (CES) via the ReFLEX project. The vehicles form part of the project's overarching aim to decarbonise Orkney's transport sector, along with electricity and heat networks.
The Nissan eNV200's have been in use since the summer of 2020 and have enhanced existing transport services on each island. Local residents can benefit from the flexible, on-demand nature of the transport service provided by the community groups operating the new vehicles. They have proven particularly valuable during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Hoy, the vehicles have joined the Development Trust's on-demand bus service to provide transport for those with healthcare needs or mobility issues. Simarly, the Eday Partnership has used the people-carriers to provide box deliveries, hot meals, parcels, shopping, prescriptions and even school work to community members.
The collaboration between these community groups and the ReFLEX Orkney project demonstrates one way to make innovative, low-carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles, more accessible to the public. The community-owned and operated electric vehicles will ensure that all residents have the opportunity to take advantage of low-carbon transport on their doorstep.
The vehicles have been put to use alongside the existing community bus, which was running a scheduled service between Longhope and the ferry terminal at Lyness before the pandemic.Deborah Jaques, Chair of The Island of Hoy Development Trust
Since the vehicles were delivered last March they have supported various community activities during lockdown. This has included the delivery of prescriptions and essential supplies to islanders including, but not limited to, those who have been shielding for the duration of the outbreak."
Eday Partnership reaches out to the whole of the island’s community, responding to the needs and interests of local residents. Since August, we have been using the vehicles to provide the school bus run, picking up the island’s children.Mellissa Thomson from The Eday Partnership
More recently, as part of our wellbeing project, we have been using the vehicles for transporting our residents around the island and this is something that we are looking to make into a regular service. Mobility is a big issue on Eday and now that we have a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible, this really has the potential to improve the lives of our residents."