Phase one of the minibus pilot launched yesterday in the southern area of the Forest of Dean. Phase two, set in an area of the north Cotswolds, will follow shortly after.

The bespoke minibus service, called The Robin, will provide on-demand services that will fill a gap where there is no bus provision.

The service will provide a link from bus stops in hamlets or village centres to local transport hubs and train stations, making existing public transport services more accessible.

The Robin was given a £1.35m boost after the county council was one of only 17 successful local authorities, out of the 56 that applied, to the Department for Transport’s Rural Mobility Fund.

Cllr Philip Robinson, cabinet member responsible for education, skills and bus transport, said: ‘Bus transport is crucial for many people who live in rural areas. This pilot will provide imaginative and much needed support to the bus services we already have across Gloucestershire.

‘It will provide greater choice in transport by helping people get around our rural communities. These brightly coloured, cheerful buses are unmissable and will provide a lifeline to our rural communities.’