Dial-a-ride service will be wound up unless saviour can be found

Dial A Ride, Ely.

Dial A Ride, Ely. - Credit: Archant

The popular Ely and Soham Dial-a-Ride service is facing closure because of a series of cuts that have seen its funding plummet by £100,000.

Dial-a-ride board members voted last week to wind up the organisation by March 31 next year unless a means of saving the service can be found.

Chairman, Ruth Rodgers said staff and board members were working desperately to find a way to preserve the service for its scores of members.

Dial-a-ride provides low-cost transport to shopping centres for members living in isolated villages and has been running for 12 years.

It employs 35 staff and its based in Witchford, with a fleet of 10 buses.

Mrs Rodgers said: “Board members, who include the founder of the service, want to work with the staff, members of the scheme and the local community to try to find possible solutions to funding the service.

“We are as a disappointed and upset as everybody else and we will do what we can to retain the service, in one form or another.

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“Ely Soham Dial a Ride was set up to provide accessible community transport.

“This kind of service is never able to cover the costs so we have developed a variety of methods of funding this service and supporting an excursion programme, including through grants and successfully bidding for contracts.”

Over the past two years the service has been hit by some significant reductions in funding including the removal of the concessionary bus pass, withdrawal of council grant funding and pressure to deliver contracts at the lowest possible cost.