Luton Dial a Ride rows left dozens of vulnerable people stuck without transport

Personal animosity between the boss of Dial a Ride and Luton Borough Council’s transport manager helped leave dozens of vulnerable people stuck without transport last year.

A report into South Beds Dial a Ride’s (SBDAR) sudden decision to stop providing a door to door service for housebound people, says better controls could have prevented the situation.

The report, to go before the council’s exec committee next week, states:”We have grave concerns that animosity between individuals was allowed to develop to the extent that it was a major factor in the withdrawal of the service.”

It says there was a complete collapse of the situation without effective management intervention.

An interim service, set up by the council in the aftermath, was not running as smoothly as hoped with some reports that passengers had not been collected for return journeys.

SBDAR pulled out of Luton in August last year stating a reduction in council funding of 37% made it inviable. Chief Executive Dave Barratt told the Luton News the service carries out around 22,000 passenger journeys a year.

The review group found there was no effective service level agreement in place which led to disagreements between the service and the council. It also called for “clear strategic ownership and management within LBC”.

The service still operates in Central Beds and Leighton Buzzard.