Joy after transport scheme avoids axe

PENSIONERS who rely on community transport are overjoyed at the news that the scheme has been saved from the axe.

Nottinghamshire County Council was planning to stop funding the county's 12 schemes in this year's budget, but members performed a U-turn last week after a barrage of complaints.

The Eastwood scheme takes 340 pensioners – some of whom are blind – shopping and to community groups.

Jean Bell, 78, said: "It's brilliant news. One of the drivers told me the news when he had just found out himself and we were both cheering. I'm jubilant.

"It's extremely important to me. I have to go to the doctor regularly for blood tests and follow ups and if I didn't have the volunteer drivers, it would cost me a fortune because I would have to take taxis."

Audrey Chandler is blind and uses the transport to go shopping and to visit the doctor. She said: "I'm really pleased – it's a lifeline for me. I have used it for donkey's years. I could get buses to some places, but I would have to find my way to wherever I am going once I got off."

The council now plans to review the county's 12 transport schemes to make them more cost-effective and save money.

A meeting was held last week between county council officials and co-ordinators of the schemes to reveal the good news and explain that a review will be carried out over the next year to look at ways to expand and develop them.

A council spokesperson said: "Changes could result in, for example, a community transport scheme taking over a contract we have with a taxi company who take a student with special needs to college.

"We would save money, the scheme would make money and the student would get a more intensive level of care.

"The review will build on a study we started in October 2008, looking at a broad range of public transport including the gaps in regular bus service provision."

Sue Bagshaw, manager at Eastwood Volunteer Bureau, where Broxtowe's scheme is run from, said: "We can work with changes as long as it's for the benefit of the scheme and the clients."

The council will hold another meeting with co-ordinators in April to talk about ideas for developing the schemes.

The Eastwood community transport scheme costs the county council 16,000 a year.

Groups which rely on the service to ferry their members about were also threatened with closure as a knock-on effect of the planned changes .


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