Thousands more passengers are now using a bus service that was saved from the axe, it was revealed today.
Rideability is on course to see passenger numbers increase by about 12,000 during the current financial year – up to around 31,000 compared to 19,000 the previous year.
The service, which offers disabled and housebound residents door-to-door transport, was relaunched last September after Blackpool Council stepped in to take over the day-to-day running from the charity Disability Services.
Bosses say the use of an additional charity vehicle alongside council vehicles has created a better service.
Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re extremely pleased with the way the Rideability service has been operating.
“The increase in passenger numbers is very welcome and is testament to the hard work that has been put in and the strong partnership that has formed between the council and Disability Services.
“We won’t rest on our laurels and will continue to strive to offer and quality service and promote it effectively.
“However, we’re happy we are travelling in the right direction and thank Rideability’s loyal customers and the many new ones we’ve gained for their support.”
Disability Services continues to play a key role in Rideability.
Chairman Martin Wilson said: “The board of directors is extremely pleased with the progression of the service and the commitment by the council to continue and extend the operation.
“In the near future it is anticipated a number of volunteers will be engaged to assist and support the service in order to fulfil the extension of services.”
It had been feared changes to the service could have led to a reduction in hours, but taking it in-house meant savings of £30,000.
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: “I’m delighted to see the increase in use of Rideability.
“This is a great service that has recently survived a closure threat from the council.
“I was delighted when people pressure forced a U-turn and that Rideability is now semi-independent of the council. I believe I was right to oppose the plans to scrap Rideability’s funding and assume control of its functions.”
People can book Rideability by calling (01253) 293300 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/rideability at least two days in advance.