Ely commuters “too posh” to take up free mini-bus offer - according to entrepreneur

Peter Dawe with one of the mini buses for Ely E-Commute. Picture: Steve Williams. Peter Dawe with one of the mini buses for Ely E-Commute. Picture: Steve Williams.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
8:28 AM

The commuters of Ely stand accused of being “too posh to drive” after an entrepreneur’s offer of a free minibus fell on deaf ears.

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Peter Dawe launched the Ely eCommuter initiative in July and offered three regular commuters the use of a mini-bus – free of charge – in exchange for picking up fellow passengers on their way in to work in Cambridge.

Mr Dawe said that he was snowed under with offers from people willing to use the service but not a single offer from anyone interested in driving the minibuses – despite the promise of free fuel, insurance and maintenance.

Now he has accused commuters in the city of being “too posh” to drive the mini-buses and says unless he gets three drivers to take up his offer in the near future, he could be forced to scrap the idea.

He said: “I thought that offering free use of three mini-buses in return for picking up fellow commuters would have people queuing up for the opportunity. How wrong can one be?

“After months of promotion, I have people queuing up to ride in the vehicles, but no one prepared to drive.

“The driver simply had to pick up passengers at a few bus stops at the beginning of each journey, passengers just paying their share of the costs.

“The mini-buses which, included a brand new Ford Torneo, are now to be sold and the people of Ely can continue to use the unreliable and costly traditional bus service.

“I wonder if this is just Ely, or if there are no dormitory towns with people who are prepared to have totally free commute in return for picking up fellow travellers.”

As part of the scheme, Mr Dawe was to give away three mini-buses in return for a commitment to pick up and drop off fellow commuters at three designated stop-off points in Ely and Cambridge Science Park.

The driver of the bus was to have the cost of petrol, servicing, MOT, insurance and tax paid for and would have been entitled to use the bus as they would their own vehicle at weekends.

The cost of a return journey for passengers was to be £5, with a 10-journey pass available for £25.

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