Dial-a-ride service cash hopes

PUBLISHED: 12:10 11 October 2007 | UPDATED: 12:57 04 May 2010

ELY and Soham Dial-a-Ride, which is facing a £30,000 shortfall after its lottery bid failed, could get a £16,500 handout from the district council. The figure represents a £6,500 increase on last year s grant for the service which runs five mini buses. I

ELY and Soham Dial-a-Ride, which is facing a £30,000 shortfall after its lottery bid failed, could get a £16,500 handout from the district council.

The figure represents a £6,500 increase on last year's grant for the service which runs five mini buses.

In the last year, it carried out 13,550 journeys for its 559 members and covers 71 per cent of its operating costs.

The Voluntary Network Dial-a-Ride, which covers Newmarket and the surrounding villages, could get £8,000 in cash help from the district council.

But council officers claimed they would prefer to only offer the annual grant rather than a three-year service level agreement to both organisations because their futures were uncertain.

"Both organisations face significant financial challenges in the future," Shirley Blake, East Cambridgeshire District Council's principal economic development officer told community service committee members.

"They are actively seeking contract work with the public sector to subsidise their dial-a-ride activities, particularly in the case of Ely and Soham Dial-a-Ride this should help to increase their self-financing level.

"However, both will need to fund replacement vehicles in the next 12 months and the Voluntary Network is already fund raising for this. Funding sources in the future are uncertain."

Members of the community services committee were expected to agree the grants at their meeting today (Thursday).

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