The Pompey Dial Ride scheme, the transport service for the disabled and elderly, set-up in 2015 after the original dial-a-ride service was slashed by the Conservative administration, has finally been forced to close.
Pompey Dial Ride, run by Tracey Jones and Kerron Barnes, provided a vital, fully accessible, door-to-door transport service for anyone who finds it difficult or impossible to use ordinary bus services.
In a brief but emotional statement Pompey Dial Ride said, “It is with a very heavy heart that I have to let everyone now know that Pompey Dial Ride is no longer running.
“I would like to thank everyone that has given us support especially Alan Priddy, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Steve Pitt and Kenneth Ebbens, you have gone above & beyond for us, Thank you.
“To all our lovely customers, I am so sorry that I couldn’t save your service. I am going to miss every one of you.”
The service hit the headlines back in March when Tory councillors and “independent” councillor John Ferrett attempted to cover their own backs by using the potential axing of the service to smear the Lib Dem team who had bent over backwards to save it.
At the time Lib Dem Cllr Steve Pitt told us, “This Council had stopped funding Dial Ride and it was due to close at the end of August last year. People stepped in to stop this happening.
“Lib Dem group Leader, Gerald Vernon Jackson stepped in and found Dial Ride a new office, after they were told to leave the Beneficial Foundation. I asked for support from business angels, who drafted a business plan, which I re-wrote into PCC speak.
“I also nominated Dial Ride to receive business development support from a group of students at Portsmouth Uni, which has resulted in excellent work on their part in supporting Dial Ride. A new accountant was appointed and a bid for the Voluntary Sector Challenge Fund is being worked up as I write.”
Tory group leader Donna Jones and Tory Cllr Ken Ellcome – now Lord Mayor – who is a trustee of the Beneficial Foundation, had pledge the service would replace the one they had just axed.
Cllr Ellcome said at the time,”I am really pleased we have been able to work with Tracey and Kerron in making sure dial ride goes forward.
“This is a new, improved dial-a-ride which will be able to extend its offer to residents in the city in terms of getting them about and getting them to the shops and on special trips out. I wish them every success for the future.”