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Wednesday 3 November 2010

Adult Transport Consultation


A two-month consultation is being launched to consider the future of transport provision for older and disabled people in Cheshire East.

The Council has transformed adult services to make it fit for the 21st century and considerations over transport now need to be made.

Cheshire East Council is unusual in having a big fleet of minibuses and while that might have been appropriate in the 1980s and 1990s, it may not be appropriate in 2010.

Cheshire East has an increasing number of taxis which are able to serve people with disabilities as well as Dial-A-Ride, community transport, motobility schemes, bus passes, more accessible buses and personal budgets that allow older people and those with disabilities to decide on their own care and transport provisions.

The new Empower* debit card makes paying for alternative transport easy and automatically records what has been spent.

Reasons why the Council feels this review is necessary include:

· The first person to board a minibus may be there for more than an hour while other people are being picked up and may be in the same position on the way home.

· People have to travel at times controlled by the bus timetable and not when they want to travel.

· The minibus fleet costs £1.4m a year to operate which some or all of that money could be better spent elsewhere. The cost per trip using the minibus fleet is £9 per person. Given the tough national economic situation, is that good value for money?

· Some people, particularly young people with learning disabilities, may prefer to use a personal budget to hire a personal assistant for half a day and go to the library, swimming pool or leisure centre, etc.

· Some younger people who could learn to travel independently on public transport do not get the opportunity as they can be dependent upon the Council's minibus fleet. Being able to travel independently could transform their quality of life.

However, Cheshire East recognises there will be some people for whom none of the above is a practical option and they will still need direct transport provision.

Cheshire East is already carrying out independent travel training with an increasing number of people. If the decision is to end the current system, the Council will continue to make arrangements for people who cannot travel independently and will ensure that people have access to transport.

Public consultation will run from November 2 to December 31 and will consider the future of fleet transport and the amount of subsidy on the flat-rate transport charge, which is currently set at £2 per trip. More details on how these will affect customers will be available on the Cheshire East website from November 2.

Cheshire East Council is committed to giving people more choice and control over Cheshire East services and resources. It also aims to improve life opportunities and health for all residents.

Councillor Roland Domleo, Cabinet member with responsibility for adult services, said: “We have an opportunity here to make transport the servant of the customers and not the other way round, as we virtually have now.

“It is an opportunity for freedom, choice and convenience for many people. It is also an opportunity to make transport use and provision sustainable as the existing system, costing £1.4m a year, cannot continue in its present form while demands for social care continue to rise at an alarming rate.”

People can make their views known by:

Completing the online questionnaire at

Writing to: The Consultation and Participation Team, Cheshire East Council, Delamere House, Delamere Street, Crewe, CW1 2LL

Emailing your views to:

Informing staff in their day care centres.

There will also be public meetings at The Community Church, Brook Lane, Middlewich, CW10 0JG, December 1. Sessions start at 3.30pm and 5.30pm.

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