Transport to county day centres saved

County Coun Tony Martin

County Coun Tony Martin

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A later start time for adults attending county council day centres means free transport services can continue to be provided AND the council will save £2m.

But some 65 jobs and 50 vehicles will go to create a scaled down Travelcare service,

The County Council unveiled its new service arrangements this week, after proposing last November to end the free bus services.

The specially adapted Travelcare buses are used to transport children with special educational needs and disabilities to school and to take more than 1,000 disabled and the elderly to day centres and community activities.

A spokesman explained: “Until now those journeys have all been made at the same time, but by starting day centre services an hour later, a smaller fleet can be used to first take children to school, then take adults to day centres.”

The move has been welcomed by Melanie Close, Chief Excutive of Disability Equality North West, who said: “It seems like a really good solution ...lot of people were really worried. It feels like they’ve listened to all the feedback we gave.”

There will also be adjustments to the operation of county council-run day centres to accommodate new arrival and departure times.

County Coun Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “We’ve found an innovative solution which means that we can sustain this free transport service for some of Lancashire’s most vulnerable people, while also making some of the significant savings which are needed as a result of ongoing cuts to our budget and rising demand for our services. We understand this means some changes for the people who attend day centres but we’ve worked closely with them to minimise the impact as far as possible. It will mean people get picked up a bit later in the morning, but where they are attending county council day centres, they will also stay there later in the afternoon, and therefore receive the same level of service. This solution will be far better for people who use day centres and their carers than ending the service.”