Friday, 20 October 2017

Readibus saved thanks to appeal

GORING’S Readibus service is safe from the axe until at least April 2019 thanks to a successful fund-raising campaign.

The fortnightly dial-a-ride service, which takes up to 11 people with disabilities into Reading and back in a specially adapted vehicle, looked set to run out of money in September and would have been forced to wind up.

However, an appeal launched by the Goring Mobility Issues Group in November has raised almost £3,000.

The group urged pensioners to donate their winter fuel allowance to Readibus and many responded.

John Boler, who chairs the group, said: “It’s incredible how generous people have been at a time of year when they often face increased financial strain. Despite that, they were willing to dig deep and help others.”

The shuttle service costs up to £1,600 a year to run and used to be funded by Oxfordshire County Council until it withdrew its grant in 2013.

Half is now provided by Goring Parish Council while the mobility group pays the rest.

The group is still raising money to keep the bus running beyond 2019. Anyone who wishes to donate should call Mr Boler on (01491) 873481 or Rhys Hamilton on (01491) 680621.

Meanwhile, a compromise is looming in the mobility group’s campaign to widen a section of pavement in Wallingford Road on the approach to Goring station.

Part of the footway between High Street and Reading Road is less than a metre wide, meaning it is impossible for two people in wheelchairs or pushing prams to pass without one stepping into the road.

Network Rail is expected to remove the rusty metal crash barrier that runs alongside the pavement, which will create more space.

However, the footway will still be less than the recommended minimum width of between 1.5m and 2m and the group is looking at ways to extend it.

This could cost up to £200,000 so the work is unlikely to be carried out until 2020.

The group is carrying out a traffic survey with a £7,000 grant from Great Western Railway.

It has received pledges of another £10,000 towards the work, including £5,000 from the parish council.

Mr Boler said: “We’re aware that it will be complex and expensive but are working with the county and parish councils, Network Rail and GWR to find a long-term solution.”

l An article in last week’s Henley Standard incorrectly reported that Go Ride took over the 134 bus route between Goring and Wallingford from Thames Travel last year. In fact, Thames Travel stopped running the route some time ago and it was run by Heyfordian before Go Ride took over in 2012. Go Ride’s current headquarters are in Abingdon and not Essex, as stated. The company says it is axing its Oxfordshire operations to focus on its Essex services as Dave Harrison, its managing director, is leaving for personal reasons.

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