Bus services saved for community in reprieve

BUS SERVICES SAVED: Driver Mark Ashley setting off on the Hopper bus.

BUS SERVICES SAVED: Driver Mark Ashley setting off on the Hopper bus.

First published in News

COMMUNITY bus services in Kidderminster have won a reprieve - saving three jobs and keeping the wheels on the road for hundreds of passengers.

Wyre Forest Dial-A-Ride has negotiated a contract with Worcestershire County Council to take over transport to a local day centre for people with learning difficulties.

That will enable Dial-A-Ride to retain its drivers and continue a circular service from Kidderminster Hospital, as well as launching a new route for Comberton Hill and Offmore Road.

One Hopper service, however, on Route 13 from the Birchen Coppice estate, is being axed because it was not well supported.

Dial-A-Ride manager Nigel Caldicott said: "The new contract has saved the jobs of three drivers and maintained a good community bus service for the benefit of passengers, at a time when the county council is having to cut transport services.

"Now we want the people of Kidderminster to get behind us by continuing to use the services and bringing their friends along too."

Wyre Forest Dial-A-Ride took up the challenge to provide the Hopper service for Routes 12, from the hospital to Franche and Puxton, and 13, from Birchen Coppice, in February, 2013.

Funding was provided for the routes following the amalgamation of local GP practices into Hume Street Medical Centre.

Route 12 was extended to include Carpet Trades Way earlier this year, which has proved popular with local travellers as it serves a major shopping area.

The "one-off" funding for the services runs out at the end of this week but the day centre contract has saved the day for local community bus travellers on Route 12.

It has also paved the way for Dial A Ride to take on Route 7A, serving the Comberton Hill and Offmore Road areas, which will start next Monday.

Worcestershire County Council spokeswoman Madeleine Sumner, who has worked closely with the Dial-A-Ride charity's committee, said “Wyre Forest Dial-A-Ride has provided very worthwhile and much-needed transport to its local community for many years and the extension of their services in this way reflects their dedication to serving the residents of the Wyre Forest and their desire to expand their operation.”

Mr Caldicott said: "The demand for our services continues to increase and to be able to broaden the contribution our charity makes to the quality of the lives of local people is of paramount importance. "

Timetables for the new services are available on the Worcestershire County Council website, worcestershire.gov.uk/bustimetables.

Information about volunteering opportunities and the range of services provided by Wyre Forest Dial-A-Ride is available by emailing WyreForest@dial-a-ride86.freeserve.co.uk or phoning 01562 755084

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