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Dear Members,

Those of you with better memories than mine may remember Newsletter No 51 was written in November 2002!!  You have waited patiently for almost 7 years for the next edition, and here it is.  There is no point trying to include all items of interest over the past 7 years, so we will restrict this to more current items.


As many of you will know, we sadly lost our dear friend and Coordinator Mike Tilley back in the very severe snow and ice of a very cold February.  Very shortly after this our popular Finance Manager Philip Luff was struck down by a very serious virus and has spent over 2 months in hospital or recovering at home.   Philip being Philip however, still insisted in signing cheques in his hospital bed.    Somehow Ann and the drivers managed to keep your service running and did a remarkable job in doing so.  Judith was confined to the office for much of this time performing important administration tasks so you will have seen less of her on the minibuses for a while.

The good news is that Philip has is now just about fully recovered, and has built himself back up to full time.  We now have a couple of new faces on board.  We were joined in May by Mick Strange, a driver who has spent many years taking patients all over the country for Luton and Beds NHS.  At the end of June, Dave Barratt joined South Beds Dial-a-Ride as the new Coordinator, so we are now back up to full strength and raring to go again.


One of the first member concerns to come to the attention of the new Coordinator was trips.  Many people phoned in asking for them to be brought back after an absence of over 6 months, so we have responded to your wishes.  Our first programme of trips in July have been well received and most of them were fully booked with a waiting list.  It is therefore most important if you feel you cannot join a trip on which you have booked to let us know as soon as you can so we can give the next person on the waiting list the chance to join the trip they have selected.  Thank you for this courtesy.

We have now released the second programme of trips through August to different locations whilst maintaining the same theme of Garden Centre, Shopping Centre, Mystery Tour and interesting countryside location(s).  We have lots of ideas for the future as long as the trips are well supported, but if you have any particular favourites, please let us know.

We are also adding several more trips where we can and are contacting individual members on the waiting lists to give them first refusal.


We have to constantly review the routes our minibuses run to take account of new members requirements, and changes in existing members’ wishes.  Sometimes when we do this we find we will be in your area a little later or a little earlier than your usual preferred travel time, and we hope you understand when we contact you to try to change your preferred time to help everybody else.  Your cooperation is very much appreciated.

We are not only trying to fit everybody in and be more responsive, but we are trying to be more efficient and save expensive fuel and wasted journeys.  We are also trying to give you the comfort of having the same driver on a return journey as you had on the outward journey, though this is simply not possible all of the time.


You may have spotted we are introducing notice boards into all our minibuses so we can try to make you more aware of things we need to tell you.  Please keep an eye on these for the latest information, and ask your driver or call the office for further information


PLEASE try and call us AS SOON AS YOU KNOW you cannot travel on a journey you have booked.  We have a surprising number of times when a driver arrives to collect someone and they had failed to cancel.  This is a real waste and may have prevented someone else travelling.


We have had to review our wheelchair carrying policy for safety reasons.  Wheelchairs and restraint systems are growing in size and take up even more space in a minibus.  We have to be as safe as we can, so we are reducing our wheelchair capacity with passengers seated in them from 3 to 2.  This is for occupied wheelchairs and does not apply to folded wheelchairs.

Your driver should be wearing a yellow high visibility jacket and identification tag when he collects you.  This is also for your own safety and protection to alert other road users of the hazard when we are loading and unloading.

Thanks for reading this, and we hope you continue to enjoy travelling with us,

Dave Barratt - Coordinator

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