With the ‘Access Bus’ service coming to an end, don't forget if you are elderly and disabled, about the free South Beds Dial a Ride service.
This service is available to people who have difficulty using public transport because of age or disability, and helps them to keep active and maintain their independence by transporting them to and from shops, supermarkets, day centres and other locations across Luton.
South Beds Dial a Ride uses ‘easy to access’ buses, carries wheelchair users and is available at no charge to any Luton resident eligible for a bus pass or smartcard who has difficulty using public transport. The service is available on Mondays to Fridays between 8.45am and 4.15pm.
The privately operated ‘Access Bus’ has been providing a limited service for a small group of residents from some of the town’s sheltered housing schemes. We agreed to temporarily fund the service between June and October 2012 while alternative funding sources were looked for.
Unfortunately no alternative funding was found, and as the latest cuts prevent the Council from continuing to fund it, the service will end on 19 October. However, all customers who have difficulty using public transport because of age or disability will be able to access the South Beds Dial a Ride service.
The South Beds Dial a Ride service works slightly differently in that customers call up and book individual journeys.
Cllr Hussain, Portfolio Holder for adult social care, said: “We are committed to ensuring that elderly and disabled people are able to live independently in the community. South Beds Dial a Ride provides a vital service by getting people out of the house to do their shopping, catch up with friends and participate in community activities.
“We understand some customers are disappointed that the Access Bus service is ending. We are just as disappointed that the current situation with our budget prevents us from being able to fund it.
"What we can and will be doing is working closely with eligible customers so they can make a smooth transition to the Dial a Ride service, which actually provides more flexibility and will allow them to go to more places.”
Many of Luton’s elderly and disabled residents are already making regular use of the South Beds Dial a Ride service, with around 1,800 journeys taken each month.
To use South Beds Dial a Ride, residents can register for free with the service by calling 01525 220044. Once registered, residents are able to phone up and book journeys.