City council offers money to improve dial-a-ride service

Iris Lewis

Iris Lewis

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A NEW bus could be made available to transport the elderly and infirm around Oxford after council officials offered to make more money available.

Oxfordshire County Council, the transport authority which runs the dial-a-ride service, is now considering the offer.

At the moment there is only one bus which covers Oxford after controversial cuts to the scheme in 2012.

Spindleberry Close resident Iris Lewis, 78, no longer uses the dial-a-ride service after the council asked if she could get someone to help her to and from the bus to save time.

The mother-of-five, who used the service to go to the Gladiator Club in Iffley Road, said: “The club is the only place I go to and I only go out once a week. It could be a good idea having another bus but I wouldn’t bother with them. They have treated me too badly.”

City councillor John Tanner, the executive board member for cleaner, greener Oxford, said: “We would be prepared to put a limited amount of money into an improved dial-a-ride service for Oxford, but the county council has not so far shown a willingness to agree with us how best to spend that money.

“For a significant improvement in the service we would be prepared to make a contribution. What we are not prepared to do is to throw good money after bad. The service could be a lot better run. What we don’t want do see is the county council use our contribution to run the service and their money for something else.”

Dial-a-ride can be used by those with mobility, visual and learning difficulties or the elderly. It costs £5 a year to subscribe to the 9am-5pm service and £4 for a return journey – though it is free for those with bus passes.

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “We are in discussions with the city council about their proposal.”

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