Dial-a-ride service is facing cuts

First published in Headlines

Oxford is set to lose one of its two over-subscribed dial-a-ride buses.

Oxfordshire County Council is set to fund one bus a day, five days a week in the city and in each of the county’s four other districts.

The city currently has two buses a day, Cherwell has five to seven, West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse one and South Oxfordshire none.

The county has agreed to take over the service – where OAPs and the disabled call for lifts – from district councils from April 1 because of cost concerns.

Yet it says it cannot afford to keep the service's current £470,000-a-year funding - which comes from a number of different councils - and can only put in £158,000.

A county report said the current city service helped 16,000 people a year and was “fully utilised”.

County spokesman Owen Morton acknowledged the service would be reduced in the city and Cherwell.

He said: “Officers will continue to work collaboratively with colleagues in these districts to minimise the impact where possible.”

The council had considered running the service from 9am to 3pm but has proposed 9am to 5pm after the Government put in £106,067.

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Cherwell district finance boss Ken Atack said it hoped to put in extra cash to have two buses three days a week and one on the other two days.

West Oxfordshire has pledged “appropriate” cash to maintain the service.

Oxford City, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have said they will not put any more money in to the service.

The proposals will be discussed by the county’s executive on Monday.

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