Friday, 15 December 2017

Weekly bus service for elderly goes monthly

A WEEKLY bus to Reading for elderly Goring residents has been reduced to a monthly service.

A WEEKLY bus to Reading for elderly Goring residents has been reduced to a monthly service.

From the end of this month, the Readibus dial-a-ride scheme will only call at the village on one Thursday a month.

Oxfordshire County Council has withdrawn its annual £1,350 subsidy for the service, which carries up to nine passengers.

However, Goring Parish Council has voted to continue paying its £700 annual subsidy so the service is not lost.

Readibus is an independent charity based in Wokingham. Users pay £3 per journey and are picked up and dropped off at home. The bus is adapted for people with disabilities and drivers are trained to help passengers board and disembark.

The parish council says it will review its subsidy after six months.

Chairman Cllr Alan Strong said: “We pay that money at our discretion but it is not our duty to fund the Readibus.”

Councillor John Wills said: “It’s a shame that the county council is not funding it as it is a well-used service.”

Councillor Matthew Brown added: “It’s not just well-used, it’s vital for people who can’t get into Reading by train.” The Mobility Issues Group for Goring and Streatley is trying to find businesses willing to sponsor the service.

Chairman John Boler said: “Not everyone uses it every single week but it makes a lot of journeys and is certainly very valuable to the village.”

The county council says it stopped subsidising the Readibus as part of a regular review of its costs. It is continuing to pay for the weekly Oxfordshire Dial-a-Ride service to Didcot, Wallingford, Abingdon and Oxford.

Readibus users have been told about the change.

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