End of the line for area’s dial-a-ride bus

A community bus scheme in Morpeth is no longer running.

The Stobhill Community Dial-a-ride started in February. It was initiated by the area’s county councillor, Ian Lindley, and one of the town councillors for Stobhill, Alison Byard, to help anyone with mobility problems which make it difficult for them to use public transport.

However, take-up has been lower than expected and the decision has been made to end the service, operated by Adapt North-East.

It ran every Wednesday morning until lunchtime, picking users up from home and dropping them off anywhere in Morpeth. It then returned at a pre-arranged time to pick them up and bring them home.

Coun Byard said: “It was definitely worth giving the project a go, but at the end of the day, we didn’t have the numbers to justify further funding.

“The few people who did use the service said it was very handy and we thought there would be enough demand from disabled people and elderly residents with mobility problems to make it sustainable, but it didn’t take off.

“We made every effort to publicise the scheme in the area and the health centre assisted with the publicity because the doctors and other health staff thought the service would help some of the patients with their appointments.”

She had previously said the fact that it operated once a week and people needed to sign up to the service could be putting some residents off, although those promoting the dial-a-ride made it clear that this bus was cheaper than a taxi.

As with other community transport schemes, it was run on a not-for-profit basis.