West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper, is delighted that West Lancashire Dial-A-Ride will continue to provide community transport services throughout West Lancashire, after successfully bidding to win the contract from Lancashire County Council.
Dial-a-Ride provides a personal service to the elderly and disabled residents of the borough. Their familiar red and white minibuses provide a valuable lifeline to those who cannot use public transport and do not have access to a car.
The new contract, which is for a period of three years to provide community transport services in West Lancashire, will give the organisation greater financial stability to plan services and invest in vehicles.
MP Rosie said:
“I am delighted that West Lancashire Dial-A-Ride has been successful in their bid for this contract. It has not always been smooth sailing for the organisation but the stability of a three–year contract should help Dial-A-Ride massively. It is a testament to the hard work and commitment of all the staff, board members and every individual who supports the service."
“Since becoming MP I have strongly supported Dial-A-Ride as they provide an essential service to local residents in a caring and sensitive way. It enables people to get about who might otherwise not be able to."
“I hope this success will see West Lancashire Dial-A-Ride go from strength to strength in the coming years.”
Philip Walker, Manager of Dial-a-Ride, said:
“We have a lot of experience serving vulnerable people who rely on us to get them to the shops or to visit friends. It came as a shock to us when the Council said it intended to bid for its own contract. We had to prove to them that we could provide the service better and cheaper than they could."
“Competitive tendering can pull prices down but we were concerned that it would sacrifice the quality of service our passengers are used to. Bidding for the county contract was very time consuming, nevertheless we were able to prove to the council that in all respects our standards of service fully meet or exceed their requirements."
“Dial-a-Ride is a non-profit organisation, led by dedicated, volunteer professionals. We knew we were an efficient, high quality provider of accessible travel; now the council has tested this and agrees with us!”
In February of this year Rosie raised concerns about the tendering process following complaints from local residents that they would lose West Lancashire Dial-A-Ride. Experience from across Lancashire had shown that local providers had been losing out to Travel Care, Lancashire County Council’s in-house community transport provider.