‘Portsmouth City Council has done all it can to help dial-a-ride service’ insists Tory official

Tory councillor Ken Ellcome
Tory councillor Ken Ellcome
File photo of the M27

Picture: Paul Jacobs

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CITY officials insist they have done everything possible to try and help Portsmouth’s struggling dial-a-ride service.

Pompey Dial Ride revealed that it only has enough funds to operate for another two weeks – and if more cash isn’t found then it will close.

Owner Tracey Jones raised frustrations that the city council had left the firm in the lurch as it had applied for £62,000 but not heard whether the bid was successful.

But Tory councillor Ken Ellcome, who helped Mrs Jones set up Pompey Dial Ride last year, said the authority had done a lot to help – including giving the firm ‘rent free’ office space. Cllr Ellcome said: ‘We have done everything we can to help and support Tracey.

‘She has not had to pay rent for 18 months.

‘We rented her one of our vehicles at no charge to help her make more trips.

‘We also gave her, without charge, one of our finance guys to help with the business.

‘On top of that, the council gave her £60,000 and another £18,000 to get her started, on the understanding she would make the business break even within two years.

‘At some point we have to say, this is council taxpayers’ money, how much longer can we keep shovelling money into it?’