Plans to axe community transport service to be discussed by Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet

Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet is being urged to back plans to axe the community transport service.

The local authority has been reviewing the area as part of the Fit for there Future programme.

A report by Cllr Doug Pullen, Cabinet member for community, has recommended the service be ended completely to help save more than £22,000 a year.

Three minibuses are currently operated by a full time manager and 11 volunteer drivers, which the report admits is “central to the success of the service”.

But figures also reveal that just 13 organisations which regularly use the community transport – although the council recognises that those with older residents and those with support needs are often those utilising the travel option.

The Fit for the Future report admitted the council was being forced to make tough decisions: “Community transport provides a valuable service to member organisations and helps counter social isolation for older people and children and adults with support needs.

“Operating with minimal investment over a number of years, the service has been able to
meet the needs of its member groups, however the council has been subsidising the cost
of the transport by not recovering the costs of the service through its charges.

“The service is now at a point where significant investment is required to make the
Service viable in the medium to long term, at the same time the council is having to
identify financial savings.

“There is no evidence to suggest that investment in new minibuses will achieve the income levels required to operate the Service on full cost recovery basis.

“There are other community transport providers with the capacity to meet the needs of those who use the service more than 10 times a year. Stopping the service would impact on member groups but there are options to mitigate the impact on regular users.”

Cabinet will discuss the plans at a meeting tomorrow (September 6).

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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