Volunteer drivers needed for community bus service

Wednesday 5th December 2018 3:41 pm
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Early days of the West Dart Community Bus ()

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A community bus service has sent out a plea for volunteer drivers to keep the vital service running.

The West Dart Community Bus service which started 35 years ago, provides a valuable service to people in remote villages to travel into the nearby towns.

With bus routes into remote areas declining, the service gives people in Dittisham and Blackawton the opportunity to go to Dartmouth, Totnes and Newton Abbot. This is very useful for those with no other means of transportation.

The West Dart Community Bus service was started by local people 35 years ago and run locally by volunteers till around 18 months ago when the administrative burden was taken over by another larger charity, the Ivybridge Community Transport Association.

This was due to the increased administrative duties and the struggle to find local volunteers to complete the work.

Every Friday, the organisation runs a service into Dartmouth from Dittisham at 9.30am and from Blackawton at 10.15am. It also runs into Totnes twice a month on every first and third Tuesday and once a month to Newton Abbot on every last Wednesday.

Around 50 passengers from these remote villages use the service a month, equalling around 580 people a year.

A spokesman for the West Dart Community Bus Service has described how important the service is to its users. “For rural parishes like Blackawton and Dittisham, where public transport has been either cut back drastically over the last decade, or in the case of Dittisham completely ceased, those who have no transport of their own or have given up driving are increasingly isolated.

“Our service is an important element enabling some to maintain their independence and continue living in those communities.

“Without our service some might have to move away from their homes and support networks.”

But to ensure this service continues, more volunteer drivers are needed. The drivers would only be needed for four hours once every six weeks.

To find out more or volunteer, please contact Dave Blair on 01803 833807 or 07902 945129 or Alex Thom on 01752 690444.

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