Ely Soham Dial-a-Ride: FACT and TVC’s offer is much the same as mine, but with management not seeing Ely at its core

I would like to clarify some of the misconceptions that seem to have been spread regarding my proposal to take over Ely Soham Dial-a-Ride, as these are being presented as “not offering a Dial-a-Ride service”.

1) Subsidised service – the Dial-a-Ride service must cover its costs. For me to not highlight this would have been dishonest.

2) On-demand service – Dial-a-Ride was (once) an on-demand service. The cost of this is very high, I proposed that the service would be, in part, curtailed to a scheduled service, to enable optimisation of buses and drivers.

3) Extended services – to make the service financially viable, I was proposing to extend the services offered to commuters, school transport, etc. With a wider scheduled service, the need for an extensive Dial-a-Ride service is reduced.

4) Use of volunteers – to reduce costs, I would have looked to volunteer drivers, from the excellent Ely Volunteer Centre for instance, to supplement the core of paid drivers.

5) New buses – the existing fleet is beyond its economic service life, I was proposing to replace them with a totally new fleet.

Thus the charge that I would not be running a Dial-a-Ride service is sort of true!

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But then again FACT and TVC have only said they will “try” to offer a “similar” service. Much the same as my offer, but with a management that will not see Ely as its core.

Over the year I’ve tried to work with the Dial-a-Ride trustees. I found them disingenuous in the extreme and with a totally closed mindset.

I feel the members were duped by them at the annual meeting.

PETER DAWE

Via e-mail