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Launch event at the Cheese and Grain, Frome, 5pm to 6.30pm on 4th April 2019

Written on 1stApril 2019 by Kate Whittle

Co-operative entrepreneurship in transport: be part of GO-OP's sustainable transport revolution

Anyone interested in seeing improved local train services, provided by a co-operative of passengers, employees and investor members, is warmly invited to come along and hear about our plans. Go-op Co-operative wants to engage with potential users of our services early. We’d also like to hear from people who’d like to try out with the team now, with view to maybe becoming employee members with us later.

Our overall aim is to help people to leave the car at home – to provide rail links between under-served rural towns and mainline services. A particular goal is to give some of the market towns of Somerset and Wiltshire a regular, functional service where at present the low frequency makes it hard to give up the car.

However this is just the start – we need to start planning bus services to bring people to the stations, and consider how we can further develop and enhance the service. Anyone in the area we serve can be part of the conversation.

  • Timetable highlights include:
  • a big jump in service levels at Frome, getting close to hourly
  • five trips each way between Castle Cary and Swindon, including some in peak hours and others that extend the day with early and late departures
  • a total of 25 departures a day from Melksham, close to an hourly service
  • four of our trains from Castle Cary continue to Taunton, and two go to Yeovil. Combined with the existing Heart of Wessex services this should provide a more or less two hourly service between Westbury and Yeovil
  • Taunton trips combine with GWR's planned service improvements to provide close to hourly departures in the peaks. Again, we are extending the travelling day with early and late trains.

We have three main roles in which our members can contribute to the work of GO-OP: as volunteers, as workers or prospective employees, and as directors.

Volunteeers

GO-OP has an urgent need for volunteer assistance to bring its plans to fruition. We need people in a variety of roles, but especially office based work in Taunton, ideal for people with good computer skills. We would value having contacts and community organisers in all the town and cities on our route. However, we have limited capacity for managing people - so we really need a small number of dedicated people who can take the initiative and be largely self reliant. For this reason we have carefully defined volunteer roles and we are asking for applicants. For more information, download our volunteer pack.

Workers and prospective workers

We do not yet have any jobs to offer – yet! But we are now close to the point that we will - and we are interested in hearing from people about a number of posts. These include:

  • trainee train drivers
  • fundraisers
  • marketing managers
  • people keen to work with our members on activity local to particular stations.

In the absence of normal salaries, we have alternative ways to compensate people for their time - sweat equity, and in some cases commission - and of course working for us now ensures a place on the short list when paid work is available. For more information, download our worker pack.

Directors

We would like to enlarge our board of directors so that it has a wider range of skills, experiences and backgrounds, and better reflects the communities that we serve. For entirely understandable reasons, some long serving board members have been obliged to stand down and we cannot thank them enough for their dedication. We are not just looking for experts and professionals to replace them (though they do have much to offer!) but bright people with some wisdom and perceptiveness, who are willing to digest a lot of information and form a balanced opinion on what is best for the co-operative. For more information, download the 'Standing for the board' pack.