Service to help people get out about to start

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A SAVED dial-a-ride service is due to start running in two weeks time.

Dial-a-Ride, which was axed by Portsmouth City Council last year to save money, has now been taken over by some of the scheme’s staff.

It will now be called Pompey Dial Ride and is due to start on April 1.

Kerron Barnes, 55, is a driver for the service.

He said: ‘The council have given us a start-up grant of £25,000 and we’ve used that to buy three minibuses.

‘We will also be getting running grants from the council, but we don’t know how much yet.

‘I imagine we will know in April, however we do know it won’t be the same amount each year and we will have to do fundraising to keep it going.’

The future of Portsmouth’s Dial-a-Ride was uncertain after the council revealed it wanted to take away the £117,000 it gives Pete’s Airlink to operate it.

But Tracey Jones, schedule operator for Dial-a-Ride – which arranges minibuses to pick up vulnerable residents from their homes – has teamed up with drivers to set up a non-profit organisation.

The service will be run from the Beneficial Foundation centre, in Anson Road, Fratton.