Pompey Dial Ride service closes after funds run out

A TRANSPORT service for vulnerable people has closed its doors after more than 30 years.

Friday, 2nd June 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:28 pm
Tracey Jones, operator of Pompey Dial Ride has expressed her sadness having been forced to close the service

Pompey Dial Ride provided a service to up to 1,000 customers in the Portsmouth area who found it difficult to use public transport.

The service was granted £30,000 worth of funding from Portsmouth City Council last year but operator Tracey Jones has confessed that the company has now been forced to close due to a lack of funds.

She told The News: ‘I have closed the service down as unfortunately, we have run out of money.

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‘We just were not able to make it a sustainable business.’

Ms Jones and Kerron Barnes formed a non-profit organisation in 2015 to rebrand the service under the name Pompey Dial Ride when its former entity Pompey Dial-a-Ride was axed by the council.

The £30,000 cash injection came last September and the service’s future was looking hopeful earlier this year after it became a community interest company.

Ms Jones added: ‘It is awful and I am just so sorry that we cannot keep it going for all our customers. I am going to miss them all.

‘People really rely on this service and I just feel so sorry for them. For most of them, they are going to be stuck indoors because of this.’

She personally thanked city councillors Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Steve Pitt for helping her with the service’s business plan and securing a base at Cathedral House in Old Portsmouth.

Ocean racing legend Alan Priddy and Ken Ebbens of Healthwatch Portsmouth were also thanked for their role in aiding the business.

Councillor Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth Liberal Democrats said: ‘I am disappointed that the Conservatives have allowed them to go bust and that they have not put the money into the business like they said they would.’

The council is planning the implementation of an interim service.

A council spokesman said: ‘We are sad to hear it is no longer operating and are working to support its customers. We are arranging an interim service that will support residents while a long-term solution is put in place.’

Call 02392 437699, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 12.30pm to book.