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NEWSLETTER No 54 SPRINGTIME - May 2010

Dear Members,

We are moving into the warmer and lighter Spring and Summer, having come through one of the coldest Winters in living memory.  Regrettably we lost many days service to the weather the week before Christmas, and in the first and second weeks of 2010.  Safety is paramount to us, so even when roads become passable, we have to consider the condition of the pavements and walkways which always take longer to clear.  We would hate you to slip on an icy surface.  We are grateful for your understanding, even though this was inconvenient for you.  As the situation eased, we did operate a “necessary journeys only” service, to Doctors and Hospital appointments, until we could get back to normal.

STAFFING

After an enjoyable send off, Tony Evans has now moved south and is settling in, enjoying the coastal walks and being nearer to family.  He asked me to pass this message on to you all.  “Thank the customers on my behalf in the next newsletter for many years of friendship and a special thanks for all the good wishes as we head off to Eastbourne”.

We were very lucky that Brendan Gallagher applied for the driver vacancy and he started with us in early January.  Brendan has worked for us before a couple of years ago as a temporary driver, so he knows the ropes and is settling in well.  Welcome “on board” Brendan!  He’s the handsome one with the “cool shades”.

COFFEE MORNING

Our next Coffee Morning is on Saturday 22nd May.  We still have places available so please call 01525 220044 to book in.  If you have a reason why you are NOT attending would you please let us know, so we can try to cater for your preferences in the future?  Please phone the bookings office or tell a driver.

COMPLIMENTS

Recently we have received many thanks from new and longer standing members about our service and our “lovely drivers”.  We are always grateful for your feedback, which is always passed on at our regular Drivers’ Meetings, and very much appreciated.  Please tell us if something is bothering you as well won’t you?

TRIPS

We have a notice in our buses asking you to register your interest in any trips we can arrange, and telling us when and where you would like to go.  We will then call you when we run a trip and take you to a place of your choosing.  This may be at short notice, as we are finding it more difficult to free up buses and drivers as we are getting more busy in our normal Dial-a-Ride work.

BUS PASSES

There is still a lot of confusion as to whether you need a BUS PASS or not, so here is the current position.  Many years ago you had to surrender your BUS PASS to travel on Dial-a-Ride.  Since the introduction of the National Concessionary Travel Scheme on 1st April 2006 the opposite is now true.  To travel with South Beds Dial-a-Ride you need BOTH Dial-a-Ride membership AND a valid BUS PASS from either Luton BC or Central Bedfordshire County.  We are helping many of you to apply for a BUS PASS if you do not have one.  We may be in contact with you if you are not already registered with your council.

IN VEHICLE SAFETY

Safety is paramount when travelling with us.  I know a number of passengers do not like to wear seat belts.  I have seen videos of the interior of vehicles in a crash, and even if only one passenger is not wearing a seat belt, they can go flying and hurt many other people too.  So please wear your seat belt for everyone else’s sake, as well as your own.  This applies equally to seated and wheelchair passengers.  Make sure your driver makes you as safe as possible.

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP CHARGE

In the last newsletter, I mentioned we are considering introducing an annual membership fee of about £15.  Frankly I have been amazed at the response to this idea.  So many of you have been kind enough to say what a good idea this is.  In fact I have not had a single member who has said they would not pay this fee, if and when we introduce it.

To update you on where we are with this, we are still not in a position to start this scheme for a number of reasons, so I would still be happy to hear your thoughts.  We will give you plenty of notice when we do go ahead.

ANSWERING MACHINE

We regret the answering machine built into our phone system has stopped working and nobody knows how to fix it.  Therefore you are unable to leave us messages, and we cannot leave messages for you either.  We are trying to find someone who knows how a Panasonic KX-T7630 & KX-TDA30 can be reprogrammed, but we haven’t found him/her yet.  If you know someone…….?

Dave Barratt - Coordinator

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