1. You have just started at Tagsa as Community Transport Manager, what are your first impressions?
When I had started with Tagsa in May I had been working for myself for a few months so I was quite apprehensive about how I would fit in with the team. The whole team have been so welcoming and helpful. It’s great to work with a team that have similar visions and values for the Uist Community. As well as the transport department, each department within Tagsa are always willing to work together and help each other out when needed. It’s very refreshing to be in a meeting or having lunch and be able to bounce fresh ideas and thoughts of like-minded individuals to help our community grow.
2. One of the first things you achieved since starting is getting funding for a new wheelchair accessible electric vehicle to add to Tagsa’s fleet. What was the motivation to focus on this immediately?
I am a big believer in striving for a more sustainable Uist and tackling the climate crisis. Seeing the way that Tagsa has also taken on the mission to be a more sustainable company was very encouraging for me. Community Transport had already started the important change to swap out our vehicles to EVs and had 3 already in the fleet. But I noticed that we were not able to use any of these for our trips to South Uist due to the battery range and also we were still using a diesel Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).
So, I knew we needed something that ticked both of these boxes. After successfully being awarded the funding for a fully electric WAV from Plugged in Communities by Energy Saving Trust, we purchased our new vehicle in July.
I’m looking forward to having a fully Net Zero fleet very soon!
3. Tagsa has now replaced four diesel minibuses and cars with zero emission electric vehicles – has this been a smooth transition?
The transition has been smooth. From the drivers being able to drive the new electric vehicles with ease and learning the ins and outs of charging them, to applying for the funding and having our charge points installed by a local company. Being able to see the emissions decrease each month is truly satisfying.
4. What difference do you think Tagsa’s Community Transport service makes to people in the community?
I’ve been fortunate to see first-hand what an impact our Transport service has made to our community. We are able to assist individuals that are not able to get public transport to get to the shops themselves.
We are also able provide transport to and from appointments, shopping collections, medication collections and to social and learning opportunities. We also work alongside Tagsa Adult Support and transport clients to the weekly Gardening club and to our monthly ceilidhs. In doing so we are encouraging them with independent living, being able to socialise with others and tackling head on, the Islands social isolation difficulties.
Our exciting future plans will include working with Uist Local food development where we will be able to provide a local food delivery service using our electric vehicles.
Since being here, I have had several phone calls or letters from clients expressing their thanks and appreciation and it really does make your day. It does make a difference to our community, and I would encourage anyone that thinks they may be eligible or know someone that may be eligible for the service to get in touch with us.