RE: Dial-A-Lift Service

The Department for Infrastructure, which funds the Rural Dial-a-Lift service, wrote to all Rural Community Transport providers on the 1st of March 2023, notifying us that there will be no guarantee of funding past the 30th April 2023 due to the very challenging financial position which the Department finds itself in for 2023-24.  They have further warned us that they will have to make difficult decisions due to these budgetary pressures.

The Department did acknowledge the important contribution that community transport makes, complementing the wider public transport network, helping connect communities and ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people in our society can access essential local services and more actively participate in society. The Department also understands the impact it would have on the workforce and users if funding for this scheme was to be reduced or stopped. Due to the lack of certainty regarding funding and the potential impact this news has on our organisation and its service delivery ‘on the ground’, there is the risk of a disruption to services throughout April and a potential end of Dial-a-lift transport services from 1st May 2023.

We appreciate this is a worrying situation for everyone involved, and we know that this service is a lifeline for many of our members who wouldn’t have alternative transport if the service ended. We are working very closely with the Community Transport Association, our sister Rural Community Transport Partner organisations, local politicians and the wider community and voluntary sector to lobby the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) to ensure that adequate funding is retained so that we can continue to run this crucial service and guarantee the sustainability of it into the future.

We want to reassure you that as an organisation we will do everything within our power to ensure that our service to you is retained – But we need your help with our campaign! If you can help us by perhaps contacting your local MLA and letting them know how important this service is to you and why it needs to be saved. We have attached our local MLAs telephone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses for your information and ease. If you wish to make your concerns known regarding the potential loss of the service, DFI can be contacted directly on 028 9054 0540, for the attention of Stuart Wightman Acting Director of Public Transport Operations.

The more people we have coming out to support our campaign, the more chance we have of succeeding.  Please help us to secure this ‘Life Line’ service which provides 40,000 trips for members across our district per annum.

Any updates we will be sure to notify you as quickly as possible.

Yours Sincerely

Billy Moore

North Coast Community Transport Manager