The purpose of this information report by the Director of Community & Communication is to provide an update following the cessation of the Dial-a-Ride scheme on the review into community transport provision by Age UK Portsmouth and on a separate review by Portsmouth Disability Forum.
The information report was noted and is not subject to call-in.
Louise Wilders, Director of Community & Communication, presented her report, accompanied by Gina Perryman, Access & Equality Advisor. She set out the background to the review of provision of across the board for those who had historically used Dial a Ride. The review had been undertaken by voluntary sector partners Age UK Portsmouth and Portsmouth Disability Forum (PDF), regarding options available in the city and wider examples (in Hampshire and nationally) as well as PDF considering transport in Portsmouth from a disability perspective. Age UK Portsmouth interviewed previous customers known to them and assisted them into different modes of transport which had increased their independence. The findings had shown that public transport in the city has improved in access arrangements, and that the Good Neighbour scheme worked well across Hampshire and was now piloting in Portsmouth. Some of the feedback had indicated that better training was needed for licensed taxi drivers and greater public awareness was required to ensure parking does not take place in bus stops.
Councillor Stagg was interested in the survey findings but did not believe that it had reached all the previous users of Dial-a-Ride, stating that only 1 of 60 had submitted a return. The previous users had indicated that it had been used for a range of activities such as doctors' appointments as well as for shopping, and that they missed the extra care shown by the drivers and many now felt house-bound. It was reported that the service had been designed to help with shopping and that Patient Transport was available for health appointments.
Councillor Bosher asked if the Dial-a-Ride organisers had been asked for a list of their users? Louise Wilders reported that she was concerned around Data Protection issues, but advised that they had been approached on more than one occasion, and to cover Data Protection had offered to pay for letters to be passed on, as it was important that they were supported and offered alternative means of transport However this information had not been provided and the offer to provide information to be passed on had not been accepted so efforts had also been made to make contact via community centres and through the wider voluntary and community sector and health partners. The number of clients had fallen to 10/11. Councillor Bosher was frustrated that this information had not been forthcoming when the service was taken back in-house when it had been requested.
Councillor Bosher thanked Portsmouth Disability Forum and Age UK Portsmouth for their work in undertaking the surveys and welcomed the thorough report which showed that viable alternatives were available.
Councillor Chowdhury asked for the survey information to be shared and Councillor Bosher agreed that this should be made available to the Traffic & Transportation spokespersons.
The information report was noted.