A Hartlepool bus service addressing the shortage of disabled transport in the town has proved itself as a lifeline for tackling isolation – just months after it was set up.
The dial-a-ride bus service was launched in April by transport firm Paul’s Travel which invested £12,000 in a new wheelchair-accessible minibus.
It comes about a decade since the town’s last dial-a-ride service was axed.
Passengers pay a flat fee of £10 and can call up the service to be taken to any destination in Hartlepool – including hospitals serving the town.
The bus can even be booked for trips further afield, but charges vary.
Since April, Sue Little, of Paul’s Travel, said the service has seen hundreds of people use it, with destinations ranging from doctor’s appointments to weddings, funerals and hospice visits.
Now she hopes even more people will get in touch to use it as they look to expand with a second bus this October, costing the firm about £10,000.
She said: “It is essentially a voluntary service as we don’t make any money from it, although the drivers are paid. We just want to keep people from being isolated.
“Since April it has been really busy and we have been taking people to places that they wouldn’t be able to get to.
“It has become a vital service for people.”
The service has an electric lift and can take all kinds of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Users need to be registered and the bus will ferry passengers, of all ages, to wherever they want to go.
Families in need can also use it with no additional charge.
Sue, 44, added: “People have thanked me for what we have done.
“It has changed people’s lives as it is stopping them from being isolated.
“You have to get out there and enjoy the life you have.”
The service runs from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and booking is required on 01429 236360.