Friday, 01 May 2009 12:39
  AN AM has told of the severe difficulties facing vital community transport groups in Denbighshire and Flintshire in a letter to the Welsh Transport Minister which calls for him to take urgent action to preserve the lifeline services.Welsh Conservative, Mark Isherwood, has written to Ieuan Wyn Jones AM highlighting the laudable work of Dial-a-Ride, which is based in Rhyl, and Flintshire serving Welsh Border Community Transport (WBCT) and Estuary Cars, which work as one. He said recent amendments to the CTCFI Wales Scheme have caused major concerns for the groups who fear the essential services they provide may be lost. Funding for all the groups has been reduced by 25%.The letter asks the minister to confirm his intended course of action as a matter of urgency.Welsh Border Community Transport told Mr Isherwood in a meeting last week they will find it increasingly difficult to become more sustainable in light of the fact their salary bill is in the region of £100K per annum. “WBCT state that they would find it difficult to raise that amount of money and continue to keep their charges affordable for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable without significant funding from other sources,” writes Mr Isherwood. “Estuary Cars’ concern is that the 25% cut in funding will cause them to reduce their services and that new criteria will mean that less people will be eligible to use their services. “I am informed that the new criteria would also restrict concessionary fares to people who are severely disabled and on disability allowance; whereas previously the service was available for anyone with a bus pass who was unable to access public transport.”North Denbighshire Dial A Ride are also concerned by the time allowed for the possible changes.  “They tell me that as a charity they have to abide by their constitution, articles and memorandum of association,” added Mr Isherwood. “They further tell me that they were set up by disabled people for the use of disabled people who cannot use public transport because of impairments.  “I am told that the scheme is still run by disabled people and in order for them to change anything they would have to hold an EGM. To do this they would have to give members 21 days notice and state that because of the bank holiday it will be the beginning of May before this can be held.”In the meeting with WBCT, Mr Isherwood was told that people have come to depend on them and that the timing and short notice of the Minister’s announcement has created major problems.“Having withdrawn redundancy notices, they will now have to issue them again until they know what is happening,” added Mr Isherwood. “Having been out with WBCT on their community bus, I can confirm from first hand experience that they provide a vital lifeline for many elderly, disabled and vulnerable people.” 

Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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