Isle of Man plans to extend on-demand bus services
The Isle of Man government has defended plans to extend on-demand bus services to Jurby after a northern resident said the change could be "isolating".
Transport chiefs want to replace 14 scheduled services in the parish with door-to-door minibuses from 8 April, to increase the flexibility of bus times.
Louise Whitelegg said having to book in advance could stop "last minute" trips.
But the infrastructure minister said the change would actually boost the number of people using buses.
Ray Harmer MHK said the number of people using on-demand services already in operation in Andreas, Bride, Maughold and Ramsey has increased by nearly 20% during January and February, compared to the use of scheduled services during the same months the previous year.
Places on the door-to door services need to be booked a day in advance so that routes can be planned to pick up all passengers.
Mrs Whitelegg said on-demand services would mean less flexibility for people.
She added: "Jurby has a high proportion of people who do not have their own transport, who rely on the bus to get them out and about.
"This is going to encourage further isolation, and the additional expense of taxis for last minute journeys."
The proposed on-demand services, charged at standard fares, would replace five of the 17 scheduled weekday services, and nine of the 15 scheduled on Saturdays, with Sunday services unaffected.
The proposals to change bus timetables for Jurby have been submitted to the Road Transport Licensing Committee, which has to approve them, for consideration.
If given the final go-ahead, the on-demand buses will run alongside the current scheduled bus services in Jurby for a two-week bedding-in period from 25 March.