The reality is not everyone is in peak physical health. Some seniors are not in the shape they were once in, and there are others who suffer from various forms of disabilities. The unfortunate thing is that their circumstances sometimes affect their ability to get around.
In the United Kingdom, there is a service called dial-a-ride that provides door-to-door transportation services. In this article, we take an in-depth look at the service while covering eligibility criteria, the application process, its benefits, and other essential information.
What Is Dial-A-Ride?
Dial-a-ride is a transport service set up by the local authorities or the public transport system within a jurisdiction to help those who cannot use public transportation. This group includes people who may be unable to use public transport for reasons such as old age, disability, and various health conditions or illnesses.
The idea behind this scheme is to provide a convenient door-to-door service which allows users to live independently while accessing essential services, such as shops, hospitals, or other service providers.
Dial-a-ride also enables users to attend social engagements, like visiting friends and family, among others.
Anyone who has a mobility issue that prevents them from travelling on the public transportation service qualifies regardless of where they live in the country. Age also plays a part. In places like London, anyone over the age of 85 automatically qualifies for the scheme. Please note that the eligibility criteria will vary from one region to another.
What Documents Are Required To Apply?
To apply, you will usually need the following:
- Documentation to prove your identity, such as a birth certificate, a driving license, or a passport
- Documentation to verify your address (for example, utility bills or bank statements)
- Documents to prove eligibility (for example, medical letters from healthcare professionals)
Though dial-a-ride is available throughout the UK, each local authority has its own scheme. To find out who runs your scheme where you live, it is best to contact the local council.
How To Become a Member of the Dial-A-Ride Scheme?
The membership process will depend on your local authority. But the application process usually goes as follows:
- Find the local service provider in your area.
- Get an application form from them. Nearly all dial-a-ride providers allow people to make an application online. Paper applications are also possible.
- Fill in the application form and submit your personal details, mobility requirements, and supporting documents.
- Send the application by email or by post.
- The provider will let you know the outcome. Once you are a member, you can start using the dial-a-ride service.
How To Book a Ride?
You can make a booking online or by phone. The booking system varies from one dial a ride provider to another. Usually, you can book in advance, a day before the trip or on the same day. For instance, in London, a person can book 1 trip in advance (up to 7 days) per week and unlimited same-day and next-day journeys.
People should book in advance or a day before the trip as the service can be very busy. If too many people wish to use the service, dial-a-ride may only be offered as a partial service (for example, the return part of the journey).
The time of operation is also dependent on the local authority. In busy metropolitan areas like London, the service runs till 10 in the evening. In many rural parts of the country, the service ends at 6 pm.
How Does the Dial-A-Ride Scheme Operate?
Once the booking is made, a dial-a-ride minibus will come to the person’s residence to collect them at the booked time slot. The vehicle will pick up the passenger at the designated time later for the return journey.
These vehicles are adapted to help passengers with mobility issues. This means that they will accommodate things like wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
Although the driver will assist in ensuring the passenger can board the bus safely, passengers can bring another person (for example, a carer) to assist them with their journey. Users can also bring a few bags to help carry shopping, etc.
How Much Does Dial-A-Ride Cost?
The cost to use the service will vary from one provider to another. Some offer the service at a subsidized rate or even free. Some may even charge an annual membership fee. In London, the dial-a-ride service operated by Transport for London is free, and there are no membership costs. In Hertfordshire, in contrast, there is a cost of £2.10 for the first mile followed by 50 pence per subsequent mile.
Making Travel Easier for Those with Mobility Issues
The dial-a-ride scheme is a lifesaver for members of society with mobility issues. It picks them up from their home and takes them to shops, hospitals, social clubs, and many other venues in the local vicinity. Thanks to dial-a-ride, many elderly and disabled people can lead independent lives.