On the road to success

Julie Marshall of the Manor West Residents Association and Ken Fox of Wheels for Freedom have joined forces to provide cheap day trips for local residents.
Julie Marshall of the Manor West Residents Association and Ken Fox of Wheels for Freedom have joined forces to provide cheap day trips for local residents.

A COMMUNITY centre has teamed up with a travel firm to offer discounted transport to help get more people out and about.

The Manor West Centre, in Brierton Lane, in Hartlepool, has formed a partnership with a company called Wheels for Freedom.

Company bosses, working alongside Manor West, say their combined fleets will be able to increase capacity to help people take more trips at lower prices.

Company director Ken Fox said: “A lot of people are trapped in their houses, especially with rising costs of transport.

“But we pick them up in our minibuses and take them out for the day. “There is a charge but it is minimum costs, to put back into the company.”

Ken is working with bosses at Manor West to form Hartlepool Travel Club and he says popular trips include days out to Stockton, the Ripon and Darlington markets and other routes roughly around 90 minutes away from town.

The average cost of a return trip is £12 and some of the company’s vehicles also provide disabled access.

Ken, whose company took over the Dial-a-Ride contract from Hartlepool Borough Council, added: “We were constantly getting phone calls from people wanting to go out for the day, but we didn’t have the capacity to do it.

“Now we have formed the partnership, the partnership together is big enough to do it. “There are bad times at the moment, especially economically, but if we can get people out on a day’s trip and make it fun and enjoyable, that’s the aim.”

Membership for Hartlepool Travel Club is free for the first year and afterwards there is a small charge.

So far, around 50 people have signed up, including Rift House Residents’ Association.