• All 3 existing public bus contracts 48, 62 & 74 were cancelled;
  • Won tenders for operation of 4 new (or similar) public bus contracts, 43, 47, 74 & 232, and commenced contracts for the next 5-6 years;
  • Won tender for operation of the dial-a-ride service for the Dunstable and Houghton Regis area, and commenced contract for the next 4-6 years;
  • Won tender for operation of the dial-a-ride service for the Leighton Buzzard and Linslade area. Contract could not be awarded at this time for ‘technical reasons’ beyond our control;
  • We were the only one of the three long established (Bedfordshire) county dial-a-ride schemes to retain long term future funding;
  • Formed new partnerhips with BRCC/Bedford Door-to-Door and Luton Shopmobility;
  • Recruited 3 new drivers to satisfy increasing demand and new services;
  • Left our Totternhoe home of 12 years due to redevelopment of site for housing;
  • Moved to our new home in Dunstable forming another new partnership with another long established local charity.
  • Bus replacement and enhancement programme added three ‘larger’ buses for public bus services, and ordered two new replacement dial-a-ride buses for delivery in 2018.


  • Luton dial-a-ride journeys topped 4,000 per year with no subsidy or support from local council;
  • All staff became Dementia Friends with training by the Alzheimers Society;
  • Central Bedfordshire Council decided on a new Transport Strategy which triggered a review of public bus services and putting dial-a-ride services out to competitive tender after 30 years of grant funding;
  • Introduced FREE membership for those over 90 years of age;
  • The 30th anniversary was passed since our inception in late 1986.


  • Opened first website and Facebook page
  • Became full members of Luton Dementia Action and all staff became Dementia Friends.
  • Won tender for revised Route 74 public bus service


  • Won tender for Route 62 – Pepperstock to Dunstable, so we now operated 3 public bus services.
  • Steve completed 25 years service
  • Brenda Boatwright retired after 19 years as Chairman, and having served over 25 years as a volunteer on the Management Committee since 1988.
  • Christine Perkins, Bob Mumford’s daughter appointed as only the 3rd Chairman, after joining the Management Committee during her father’s Chairmanship.


  • Won tender for new public bus service, Route 48 – Harlington to Milton Keynes, running in parallel with Route 74, so we now operated 2 public bus services.
  • Won tender for Route 74 public bus service (revised 71 again).
  • New contracts undertaken, diversifying into new services to new customers, with NHS and Adult Social Care Services.
  • A significant restructuring plan reduced the staffing of the organisation by almost half, but most importantly it survived to continue serving Central Bedfordshire passengers.


  • Philip completed 25 years service
  • Having haemorrhaged reserves supporting Luton BC by expanding the service in the town for several years, the sad decision was taken to stop losses was taken to withdraw from Luton Borough Council.
  • Without a viable service to fill the void, there followed an immediate demand from Luton based passengers to pay themselves for the dial-a-ride service which had been free for several years previously.
    A continuity of service was maintained for many passengers, albeit at a lower level.


  • Passenger journeys peaked at over 35,000pa


  • South Beds Dial-a-Ride celebrated its 25th Anniversary in December at the twice yearly Coffee Morning (click on the image to see the beautiful celebration cake)
  • Won tender to start first public bus services, Route 71 Dunstable to Leighton Buzzard, and Route 72 Barton le Clay to Dunstable. 


  • Ann completed 10 years service


  • Mike Tilley tragically passed away leaving a very healthy and vibrant service performing over 30,000 passenger journeys per year.
  • Dave Barratt appointed as only the 4th Coordinator, facing many new challenges with the prevailing economic climate and cuts to council funding filtering down from central government. The mission was to maintain or improve the level of service by trying to do more with less.
  • Steve completed 20 years service


  • Philip completed 20 years service


  • Moved to own offices with adjoining garage and yard in Totternhoe


  • Former Dunstable Mayor and Councillor, Mike Tilley appointed as the 3rd Coordinator. Over the next 7 years Mike expanded the service up to 7 minibuses and drivers, and obtained funding over the period to replace the entire fleet with new vehicles.

image © Luton on Sunday


    • Bob Mumford was invited to Buckingham Palace to be awarded the MBE by The Queen, for services to the disabled.

Image by Chris O licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


  • Philip and Steve appointed joint Coordinators, and managed the organisation through a more stable period
  • Bob Mumford retired
  • Moved to Disability Resource Centre in Dunstable
  • Brenda Boatwright replaced Bob and was appointed as the second only Chairman


  • Moved back to Jockey Farm


  • Moved to Winfield Street, Dunstable
  • Moved to Grove House Gardens, Dunstable (in a Portakabin)


  • Moved to Leagrave Road, Luton
  • The organisation quickly gained recognition from local councils and was awarded funding to expand the service.


  • 8th December, the first bus was on the road started a service from Mumfords in Jockey Farm near Markyate
  • Having a background in helping run a family haulage business gave Bob a head start. He used Guildford “Dial-a-Ride” as a model and gathered together a team of like-minded individuals who between them, invested their time and money in the formation of the new service. “South Beds Dial-a-Ride” was created.

Early 1980s

Bob Mumford lost his sight as a result of diabetes. Frustrated by the fact it was difficult for him to use public transport, and realising others may have similar problems, he made it his mission to start a bus service for the elderly, frail and disabled.

© photographs by George Wright of Paws for a Picture, Dave Barratt and others