Rural Wheels, Village Wheels and Community Wheels

Rural Wheels

Rural Wheels provides door-to-door transport for people who do not have, or are unable to access scheduled transport or have a volunteer driver available (see 

The service can be used for a variety of purposes including: 

  • Making connections with buses or trains 
  • Doctor, Dentist or Optician appointments     
  • Visiting friends or family in hospital
  • Shopping
  • Visiting friends or family

 It does not duplicate other County Council transport provision and therefore cannot be used for transport to day care, school, nursery or college and cannot be used for hospital appointments/treatment if Patient Transport is available. If you need transport to get you to your hospital appointment please check your eligibility for Patient Transport by contacting the Patient Transport Service run by North West Ambulance on 0800 032 3240. 

Rural Wheels uses a 'Smartcard' to pay for travel and a central booking system to plan journeys.  Passengers need to apply for the Smartcard before they are able to travel.  The value of the Smartcard can be topped up with the transport provider or alternatively at some local post offices, libraries and mobile libraries.  Transport requests must be booked by telephone before noon the day before travelling and passengers may be asked to be flexible about their travel time and also to share transport which will be at a reduced fare.

To apply online please use the following link or alternatively download the application form from the table below. You can return your downloaded application by post or alternatively contact the Rural Wheels coordinator on 01228 221055 to apply over the telephone.

Rural Wheels Online Application

 Title  Date  Size
1/04/2018 1630k
1/04/2018 1468k
1/04/2018 1187k
1/04/2018 1425k
1/04/2018 1443k
1/04/2018 1264k

Village Wheels

Provides a timetabled service for communities to their nearest town and uses the Rural Wheels membership scheme, planning service for booking and smartcard for payment.

To find out more about individual Village Wheels schemes please use the links below.  As Village Wheels is not a registered bus service passengers are unable to use their concessionary NOWcards.

Community Wheels

Following the allocation of Government funding specifically to develop Community Transport services, 6 new accessible minibuses have been purchased by Cumbria County Council.  These will enhance the fleet of Community Minibuses available countywide and their usage will be prioritised to provide regular transport, driven by volunteer drivers in areas where scheduled bus services are not sustainable.   


A partnership approach will see the County Council and a local steering group, drawn from the local community working together to deliver the service; each partner has specific roles and responsibilities:

Cumbria County Council will…..

Provide the minibus asset and retain ownership of the vehicle.

Work with the community through the steering group to develop the service that meets evidenced need

Support the recruitment of volunteer drivers

Ensure volunteer drivers are trained to MiDAS standard and have full vehicle familiarisation.

Ensure that the community minibuses are legal, roadworthy and in the correct location.  The day to day aspects of this will be delivered by Cumbria Community Transport on behalf of the County Council. 

Monitor usage, and provide information to the steering group regarding cost of provision and income generated.

The "Community" will….

Form a steering group and take ownership of the service

Work with the County Council to develop, support and promote the service

Recruit a pool of volunteer drivers from their community to drive the minibus.

·         Drivers need to have a full driving license. 

·         If they passed their test after 1997 they will also need Category D1 on their license (funding available)

·         Volunteer mileage expenses are covered at 45p per mile.


Passengers need to be registered with the Council's Rural Wheels service and should pre-book their seat on the transport.  This is because of the Section 19 permit legislation under which community minibuses can operate and the need for users of the vehicle to be part of a "membership" scheme. 

Passenger fares generated offset the County Council's running costs in providing the minibus. Fares are paid by Rural Wheels smartcard at a rate of 25p per mile.  Concessionary NoWcards can't be used on "Community Wheels" services as they are not scheduled bus services.

The minibuses are also available for hire to "not-for-profit" groups through Cumbria Community Transport. This helps to generate additional income and enhance the service viability.  


Lakes and Lyth Community Wheels

The first Community Wheels started on 18th September 2013 in the Lakes and Lyth area providing Wednesday morning transport into Kendal from Crook, Winster, Crosthwaite, Underbarrow and Brigsteer.  For more information, please see the leaflet below.

 Title  Date  Size
29/11/2017 864k

Alston Moor Community Wheels

Demand responsive transport for the residents of Alston Moor Parish.  For more information on how to apply and for details on routes, please see the leaflets below.

 Title  Date  Size
29/11/2017 698k

Warcop/Sandford Community Wheels

Demand responsive transport for the residents of Warcop/Sandford to Appleby, to connect with the 563 for onward travel to Penrith.  For more information, please see the leaflet below.



Development and Volunteering Opportunities

If you would like to know more about Community Wheels and discuss how this could be a solution to some of your communities transport needs or if you are interested in volunteering as a minibus driver please contact the Integrated Transport Team on 07788 396194.

Transport Providers Opportunities

Are you a Private Hire or Hackney Carriage License holder?  If you would like to know more about becoming a Rural Wheels operator, please contact the Rural Wheels Officer using the details below.


The Rural Wheels Officer

Cumbria House
107-117 Botchergate
01228 221055