New minibus to help Norfolk community transport service cope with demand

PUBLISHED: 14:50 07 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:50 07 February 2014

Geoff Doggett by the Borderhoppa mini bus outside Budgens in Harleston.

Geoff Doggett by the Borderhoppa mini bus outside Budgens in Harleston.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013

A charity transport service, which helps community organisations across south Norfolk, has taken delivery of a new minibus to help it cope with demand.

The Borderhoppa community transport service, which also serves north Suffolk, has already taken delivery of a 16 seater minibus to cope with demand and is set to buy two more minibuses courtesy of a £346,257 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

The bus, which arrived on December 2, has already been put in to service after fund raisers collected half of the £25,000 cost of the new vehicle, with the other half of the money coming courtesy of a Norfolk County Council grant.

Trustee Geoff Doggett said if all the new minibuses arrive, there will be nine in total in the charity’s fleet to cover parishes across the area from Alburgh to Yaxley.

He said: “We are getting more people who don’t have access to cars. I think the increase in demand for our services is because the population is increasing in south Norfolk and people are living longer and therefore the shift is to more older people who are still active and need transport.”

He added another driving force was that bus services were being withdrawn from rural areas due to a lack of subsidy which meant the only alternative for the less mobile was to get a taxi.

The dial-a-ride door-to-door service can be booked for a trip to the nearest town, but can also be used for a trip to the doctors or dentists, or to visit a friend.

Groups and organisations can also book the service to go on trips, such as to the theatre, seaside or a visit to the shops or garden centres.

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