A Blackpool community transport scheme is ringing in some changes

Blackpool Rideability
Blackpool Rideability
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More robust financial controls have been introduced at a disability transport service which has been a victim of fraud in the past.

More robust financial controls have been introduced at a disability transport service which has been a victim of fraud in the past.

The changes to Blackpool Council's Rideability service follow a deception which saw £47,000 siphoned off between 2012 and 2014.

But officers say they have been unable to test the new financial system due to changes taking longer than expected to implement.

A report to the council's audit committee says: "This does present a concern as fraud has been committed against this service in the past and we recommend the implementation of the new financial control system as soon as possible."

The action is part of a raft of measures aimed at making the organisation more user-friendly and which could enable it to cater for more passengers.

Rideability provides door-to-door transport for elderly and disabled people in the town.

The report sets out an action plan including a new financial system which "will reduce the future potential of fraud".

Trackers have also been fitted to vehicles so office staff know where the buses are if there are last minute changes to pick-ups.

Monthly meetings have been introduced with drivers to look at route changes where necessary and where possible office staff make contact with passengers if there are significant delays to journeys.

The report, which will be considered when the committee meets on Thursday, adds: "Customers are satisfied with the service they receive.

"However some improvements to the operation of the service would be beneficial, which may allow a greater capacity for customers within the resource available."

Rideability, which is supported by Disability Services Ltd, operates Monday to Saturday providing transport to anyone who cannot use a conventional bus. Fares start at £3 and there are also organised trips.

In 2015, the organisation's former manager Kate Bethel admitted in court to siphoning £47,000 from the scheme.

Her actions almost led to the collapse of the service, which had previously been operated as a charity before the council stepped in to save it.