Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Campaign to revive ‘lifeline’ bus service

A GROUP for elderly Goring residents is fighting to revive the village’s weekly dial-a-ride bus to Reading.

A GROUP for elderly Goring residents is fighting to revive the village’s weekly dial-a-ride bus to Reading.

The Mobility Issues Group for Goring and Streatley is seeking sponsors for the Readibus scheme, which Oxfordshire County Council stopped funding at the end of last month.

It has agreed to pay £350 towards the service’s costs for the next six months, meaning the bus will run fortnightly as the parish council currently pays for it to run once a month.

However, chairman John Boler said the group couldn’t afford to fund it in the long term and needed help from local businesses to keep it going.

The parish council has also warned that it may not be able to continue its £700 annual subsidy.

Mr Boler said he would start approaching potential sponsors.

He said: “This issue has come to the top of my agenda. One of our regular users described Readibus to me as a lifeline — she said she wouldn’t be able to get into Reading without it.”

Readibus is an independent charity based in Wokingham. Users pay £3 per journey and are picked up and dropped off at home in a specially adapted vehicle that carries up to nine passengers.

The county council withdrew its £1,350-a-year subsidy following a review of its costs. Regular user Cecilia Eaststaff, 81, who lives in Station Road, Goring, said: “I’m so grateful that the group is funding Readibus — it has given me my independence again. We’re hopeful that it will go back to being every week.”

The group has also been campaigning for passenger lifts at Goring station.

It says the station footbridge is difficult for elderly and disabled travellers to use and wants it replaced by three lifts, linked by a sheltered walkway.

The campaign is backed by Henley MP John Howell, who presented a petition with more than 1,000 signatures to Parliament.

Anyone interested in helping the group should call Mr Boler on (01491) 873481.

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