accessibility & help

Dial-a-ride service gives passengers a real lift

26 March 2012

Two men in Red Cross uniform in front of van© InfoHundreds of vulnerable residents are finding it that bit easier to get around, thanks to the Red Cross’ dial-a-ride service.

For less able residents in Horsham, West Sussex, the service provides an important means of staying mobile and getting around.

And sometimes it seems like the service never stops going. Among a packed schedule, the volunteer drivers do a primary school run for students with special needs, take attendees to a club for people who had suffered strokes and drive those with limited mobility to appointments and social events.

Building relationships

The service involves four specially adapted vehicles, each driven by volunteer drivers. Every year, they serve nearly 700 people in the area, making 7,000 trips.

For the drivers, who have special training, providing the service goes beyond just making passengers comfortable and taking them to their desired destinations. They know that the vans are a valuable space in which people can bond and have regular connections.

“It’s much more than a driving job,” said volunteer Adrian Croft. “It’s about building personal relationships with the people you transport. You get to know them really well, and it’s very rewarding work. I often get Christmas cards from service users.”

Meeting people

Passenger Mary Lawrence, a widow in her 80s, said; “I enjoy getting out every week to the local club where we do lots of activities. I don’t have a car and without dial-a-ride I simply wouldn’t be able to get there. We have a very sociable atmosphere on the bus, and it’s a lovely way to meet different people and have conversations.”

Saroj Denny, a driver who transports the kids of Manor Green Primary to and from school, is so well loved by the students she was recently invited to help present Easter eggs to them, donated by Sainsburys.

She said: “They are a great group and very good fun. We love having them on our buses and thought it would be nice to get them some Easter eggs this year.”

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