Ilkley Community Transport has launched an appeal for volunteers to help drive residents to local destinations and for more residents to use its service.
Its fleet of three distinctive blue buses of two sixteen seaters and one eleven are back in business following lockdown earlier in 2021 and are once again offering to transport local residents and charitable groups to a variety of places, including trips to the theatre, visits to museums and stately homes, excursions to the Dales and other outings ranging from an hour to a full day trip. Given notice its buses can also be easily adapted to accommodate wheelchair users.
However the popular transport service is currently facing two challenges – a lack of volunteer drivers, and a decrease in the number of bookings. In the pre-pandemic yearly period Ilkley Community Transport hired out its buses 645 times and provided over 550 car lifts. Recent numbers however have shown a drop of 45% on the previous rate of use.
“We’re delighted to once again be providing this important role in our community” said John Barker, Chair of Ilkley Community Transport.
“However, the drop in usage clearly has an impact on our revenue, so it’s important that we get the client numbers up. Whatever the level of demand for our services we still have to cover our fixed costs, such as insurance, road tax, maintenance of our vehicles – which require to be given regular safety checks – and the running of our office.
“As we go forward into 2022 we would really like to hear from individuals and groups who can make use of our buses and cars, and from potential new volunteers who can join our friendly team. At the moment we have vacancies for minibus drivers, minibus escorts, volunteer car drivers, as well as some administrative assistance in the office. Volunteers can devote as little or as much time as they wish in what they will find to be a really worthwhile and rewarding area” John added.
In terms of qualifications a minibus driver will be required to have a Group D1 on their licence, and will be trained by Community Transport to the MIDAS (Minibus Drivers Awareness Scheme) standard.
As well as the bus service it also operates a car lift scheme, where volunteer drivers use their own vehicles. The service is primarily for medical appointments and covers the LS29 postcode area – Ilkley, Addingham, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Burley Woodhead, and Menston. There is no charge for this particular service but any donations are gratefully received. Car drivers will be able to charge agreed fuel expenses and their insurance should permit them to carry passengers in a voluntary capacity without affecting their annual insurance premium.
To book a bus and check hire rates, or find out more about volunteering, please contact their office on 01943 603348, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at their website www.ilkleycommunitytransport.org.uk