Bexhill Community Bus is desperate for volunteers

Bexhill community bus SUS-150727-123045001
Bexhill community bus SUS-150727-123045001
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Bexhill Community bus is facing an acute shortage of drivers.

The community vehicle, known affectionately as ‘The Little Yellow Bus’, urgently needs new drivers to keep the service running.

Bexhill Community Bus is a volunteer-run service and registered charity which operates four bus routes in Bexhill, providing a regular bus service to those parts of the town and outskirts that are not served by commercial operators.

It also offers a private hire service to local charities such as day centres and Friends of the Elderly.

Ian Harris, who manages the service, said: “The Community Bus has been running since 1980 when cuts in support grants for public transport affected buses in Bexhill.

“It is a volunteer–run organisation that provides a public service for the benefit of people who would otherwise find it difficult to get into town.

“Ideally we need at least 20 drivers to run the service, but due to a number of recent retirements our numbers have been diminishing and we are now down to just 15.

“This is not really sufficient and it means that some of our drivers are having to undertake additional duties in order to maintain the service. The situation is quite worrying especially with more retirements coming up in the next few months.

“Driving the bus is great fun and the feeling of giving something back to the community is very satisfying. A Group D1 licence is required but most car drivers up to the age of 70 will have this on their licence already. Full training is given and volunteers can be assured that they will not be asked to drive the Bus in service until they feel comfortable and have been fully assessed.

“Shifts are half-days and rostering is very flexible. Drivers simply state in advance when they are available and rosters are compiled accordingly”.

A new 16-seater Mercedes mini-bus has been ordered and is due for delivery later this year.

The idea for a Bexhill community bus came from a number of local people led by retired local businessman and vice-chairman of the Bexhill Council of Voluntary Services Doug Upton.

Funding of the bus was eventually secured by means of grants from East Sussex County Council and the Ministry of Transport, supported by substantial local fund-raising.

If you think you could help or require more information please telephone Ian on 01424-222820. The office is not regularly manned but if you leave a message your call will be returned as soon as possible. Alternatively the office can be e-mailed at info@bexhillcommunitybus.co.uk.

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