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NEWSLETTER No 69 Winter - January 2017

Dear Members...

NEWSLETTER No 69

 

Winter - January 2017

 

Dear Members,

 

It is a new year and the days are getting longer. After a fairly quiet 2016 South Beds Dial-a-Ride could well be about to go through another bumpy phase of our 30 year journey as the review of funding from our major funder gets underway. More of this later.

 

One of the most rewarding parts of our jobs is the appreciation we receive from our members and the ways in which you express it. Thank you all who kindly sent gifts at Christmas which we shared.

 

“Merry Christmas”

 

Please accept this little gift,

With thanks honest and sincere,

To show my appreciation,

For your help throughout the year.

 

Sometimes your job’s not easy,

But you never let it show,

I’m sure there must be times when,

You would like to tell us where to go.

 

I think of all the hassles,

When your times you cannot meet,

And at the end of the day you’re saying,

“Oh my poor old feet”.

 

So now you have a few days off,

Be happy and merry then,

It will soon be two thousand and seventeen,

And you will start all over again.

 

Thank you to lovely Dorothy of Dunstable, who sent us this superb poem she wrote herself.

CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE NEWS

Our dial-a-ride service agreement with our major funder, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), expires on March 31st 2017, and we have been asked to extend it until new contracts are placed. In February 2017 we shall need to tender for funding from 2017 onwards.

 

The county is split into 3 operating areas:-

  • Dunstable and Houghton Regis;
  • Leighton Buzzard and Linslade; and
  • The rural areas in the middle of the county from Ampthill to Stotfold.

 

All these will be tendered and new contracts placed for the next 3-5 years. We expect 4 or more organisations to bid for these 3 areas, so somebody is going to end up disappointed. Obviously we hope to win back “our own area”, but absolutely nothing is certain in a tender process. We will do our best, then cross our fingers and wait.

 

LUTON NEWS

Since we withdrew our dial-a-ride service from Luton BC in August 2013, we have continued to operate in Luton with around 4,000 journeys made in 2016. We work closely with Age Concern Luton as their preferred transport provider, as well as taking lunch club groups out to pubs and restaurants all over the area.

 

The ShopMobility service has had a total cut in funding support.  South Beds Dial-a-Ride continues to regularly visit The Mall/Arndale Centre between our normal hours of 0845-1600, so please call us on 01525 220044 if you need to get there.

 

74, 62 & 48 BUS ROUTES

74 - Toddington to Dunstable service via the villages of Wingfield and Tebworth. We are now in discussions with CBC how to review this service. CBC need to save money so some kind of reduction looks inevitable, but we are working closely with them to minimise the impact and still deliver a useful service based upon the feedback we have received from passengers.

 

62 - Pepperstock to Dunstable service via the villages of Slip End, Aley Green and Caddington. The 62 service is successful, but it will still be reviewed to try to improve it further and meet the financial constraints CBC need to achieve.

 

48 – Harlington to Milton Keynes via Tingrith, Eversholt, Milton Bryan, Woburn and Woburn Sands. We are looking into ways to more efficiently use this service to help more people in the area.

 

Changes to any service are likely to take effect from 1st April 2017.

 

LOST PROPERTY

We do occasionally find passengers have left something behind on our buses and usually manage to reunite these items with their owners. Unfortunately the 2 walking sticks we currently have in our office have no names on them and are still not claimed. If you have mislaid a blue or black stick, please let us know. We also recently found a ladies ring back in June with inlaid jewels, which we have advertised as missing but nobody has claimed it yet.

 

STAFFING AND OFFICE MANNING

As we remain uncertain over 2017 funding, we have still not replaced our 2 part-time drivers. We will continue using Peter from the agency, and our General Manager (out of the office as an occasional driver) to fill gaps and cover holidays meanwhile.

 

Please leave a message anytime on our answering machine to cancel a journey. Please state clearly your name and phone number so we can indentify you and call you back on our return. Please do not leave booking requests on the answering machine. We WILL call you back to take all the details. Thank you.

 

MEMBERSHIPS FOR 90+

As you know our annual membership charge is set at £10. To help in a small way to celebrate the wonderful milestone, we are now giving free lifetime membership upon your reaching 90 years of age.

 

30 YEARS CELEBRATION

We have decided not to celebrate (yet) the 30 years of our existence at the turn of last year. As future funding is so unsure, we are not yet sure whether to celebrate or have a wake!

 

You may remember one of our volunteer Trustees, Rob, had grown his hair and beard for TWO YEARS, and had a sponsored shave off in July. Well Rob raised almost £600 for South Beds Dial-a-Ride, which is a great effort. Thanks again Rob.

 

 

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.

 

 

Newsletter compiled by Dave Barratt - 3/1/17

 

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