Volunteers and staff of the Rye & District Community Transport service met together last Wednesday January 9 at Fletchers House in Lion Street. They had been invited by chairman of trustees, Barry Nealon and members of the management committee to acknowledge their part in helping to run the community bus service.
In thanking them for their contribution, Barry Nealon declared that 2019 would be a very important year. Not only does it mark the 20th year of Dial-a-Ride service, but also the time for retiring that bus, which is coming to the end of its useful life. The task of fund-raising for its replacement was in hand, supported by an appeal to friends for help.
All those present raised a glass to Pat Hughes, Operations Manager, for her 20 years of service. She responded: “I’m so privileged to have you lot and those who cannot be here tonight. We have had a very successful year, with 21,874 passenger journeys with us on the Rye 326 Town Service in 2018. It would have been more, but for the ‘Beast from the East’ which deterred some of our would-be passengers. In December alone, we took 27 groups out to Christmas events”.
The evening was an opportunity for the driving staff to meet with each other, because usually they only see the person they take over from on their shift, It also enabled virtually the whole team to come together for the celebration.
In the photo, (l to r) are: Jon Laurie, Richie McGowan, Lyn Nealon, Barry Nealon, Pat Hughes, Ruth Palmer, Mick Bowers, Jane Conlin, John Breeds, Mike Allinson, Michael Miller and Kate Sims.
Bus drivers not able to be present because of other commitments were Tracie Fittall, Ian Foster, Ruth Heyes and Niki Stuart.
Operations Manager, Pat Hughes, writes:
Next month Rye & District Community Transport’s Dial-a-Ride will have been operating for 20 years. Over that time this service, which offers bespoke low cost transport to people with mobility difficulties in Rye and the surrounding villages, has taken hundreds of people on thousands of journeys, many for medical appointments but also for shopping and a wide range of social activities.
To mark the anniversary Rye CT is purchasing a replacement Dial-a-Ride vehicle (only the 3rd since the service began) which should go into operation in about 6 weeks time. Fund raising is in full swing to raise the £8,000 needed and if anyone wants to contribute, cheques (payable to Rye & District Community Transport) can be sent to RDCT, Rye Wharf, Rye Harbour, TN31 7TE.
Barry Nealon, Chairman of RDCT, is delighted at how far the Rye Dial-a-Ride service has come: “The Dial-a-Ride enables people who struggle with mobility difficulties to get to appointments and to be able to maintain independence and keep up with friends and activities. The expansion of facilities at our surgeries and at Rye Hospital means that more people can be treated and supported locally and the Dial-a-Ride provides those with mobility issues with ready access.”
“And if anyone would like to join our driving team, we welcome volunteer drivers for the 326 Rye Town bus service. If you are interested, under 70 and have a (clean) D1 licence please phone Pat Hughes on 01797 227722.”
Any of our readers who would like to help by making a donation towards the purchase of the replacement bus are invited to contact Pat Hughes (email email@example.com) or Barry Nealon (Tel: 01797 224085). For those few who still like to use a cheque (payable to Rye & District Community Transport), these can be sent to RDCT, Rye Wharf, Rye Harbour, TN31 7TE.
Image Credits: Kenneth Bird, Rye Community Transport.