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Charity transport service for disabled and elderly hopes to plug hole
A charity offering affordable transport for disabled and elderly people hopes to fill a gap left by cuts to other services.
London Community Transport, based in Cavendish Avenue, Harrow, launched its fleet of ten vehicles last month to provide escorted trips for people with mobility issues on a not-for-profit basis.
The group will offer journeys across the capital at a lower fee than private companies in the hope it can stop elderly and disabled people on a lower income or who have difficulty with other means of transport being forced to stay at home.
Trustee Pritesh Suchdev told the Harrow Times: “The reason we set it up was to address a need that we discovered was there – to provide these facilities for people with disabilities or the elderly.
“A lot of people out there are finding it difficult to access mainstream transport, and a lot of the companies that offer a specialist service charge a fee that people can simply not afford.
“We offer the service to anywhere in London, and what is interesting is that all of our vehicles are wheelchair accessible and every driver – and escort for those who need it – are trained carers and have some qualifications and experience.
“So they’re not going to be fazed if they have to suddenly stop while driving to attend to someone.”
London Community Transport has launched at the same time as users of the Taxicard service, funded by Transport for London (TfL) and local authorities, are appealing to Harrow Council to reverse cuts that mean they are struggling to socialise.
Campaigners have written to the council pleading for changes that mean elderly people who hold a Freedom Pass for public transport or a disabled blue badge had their number of taxi journeys cut by half – to 52 a year – be reversed.
The service, which has 90,000 members across London, gives disabled people who have complex problems and struggle to use public transport a lifeline by paying for door-to-door taxi trips, but in April the council cut subsidised trips after reductions in funding from umbrella body London Councils and TfL.
The Harrow Times has heard from many users of the scheme, many in their late 80s or early 90s with serious mobility problems, who have already used most of their allocated journeys and are scared they will be trapped in their home until April when they receive more.
Mr Suchdev said he hoped London Community Transport could link up with the scheme and help fill the gap in provision the charity had identified when it set up the new service.
He added: “We really want to try and link it up with Taxicard – that’s definitely the route we want to take because clearly there’s a need out there.”
Membership of London Community Transport is free, with most of its vehicles seven to 14-seaters.
For more information on pricing and how to join or volunteer, click here or call 0208 423 6344.