Dial a Ride Future Still Remains Uncertain

Labour Councillor and Dial a Ride campaigner, Derique Montaut, has called on the Conservative administrative to secure the long-term future of Dial a Ride, after the Conservative administration breached previous promises to secure funding from new income streams to mitigate the effects of Dial a Ride’s 50% funding cut.

Last year when the Council was seeking to cut Dial a Ride’s council funding by 50%, a petition with 4000 signatures was submitted calling on Swindon Council to secure Dial a Ride’s future.

At the time the Conservative Lead Member for Transport, Cllr Dale Heenan, said he wished to secure income from other sources rather than the Council budget, to secure Dial a Ride’s future service and mitigate the Council cuts. No such income has been made available to Dial a Ride.

In the Cabinet report it also makes mention of the fact that it is the Conservative administration’s intention to withdraw all funding from supported bus services by 2020 and that this would affect Dial a Ride. Labour Councillor, Derique Montaut, has said the Conservative Council needed to change this strategy and commit to securing the long-term future of the Dial a Ride service.

This report will now be debated at Full Council on the 13th July. See the link to the Dial a Ride Cabinet report through the following webpage: http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=8000&Ver=4

Councillor Derique Montaut said:

“I am very disappointed to read the Conservative Cabinet’s report in to Dial a Ride. The report doesn’t identify the issues in relation to what was going to happen to the Dial a Ride service. One assumed that when Dial a Ride was debated at the Council meeting, it was agreed that new sources of income would become available in order to mitigate the 50% cut to the Dial a Ride service. The Cabinet have failed to meet that commitment.

At a meeting with the former Lead Member for the Dial a Ride service, Dale Heenan, it was agreed that S106 money from sheltered housing developments would be ringfenced to mitigate the cuts to the Dial a Ride service.

The concern that Dial a Ride service users have is that the service may close down as a result of the service going out to tender, after assurances being given by the Conservative administration that this would not be the case. The concern that I have is that without the new funding sources promised by the Conservative Cabinet, the closure of the service is extremely likely.

It is our intention to raise this matter at the next Full Council Meeting on the basis that a resolution was carried to try to increase the funding to the Dial a Ride service and we’re concerned that the funding arrangement through S106 money has been withdrawn.”