Changes in the way the authority’s specially-adapted Travelcare buses are run, along with adjustments to the operation of county council-run day centres, will see a smaller fleet of buses with a £2m saving.
The Travelcare fleet is used to take children with special educational needs and disabilities to school, and to take disabled and older people to day centres.
Until now journeys have all been made at the same time, but by starting day centre services an hour later, a smaller fleet can be used to first take children to school, then take adults to day centres.
County Coun. Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “We understand this means some changes for the people who attend day centres but we’ve worked closely with them to minimise the impact as far as possible. It will mean people get picked up a bit later in the morning, but where they are attending county council day centres, they will also stay there later in the afternoon, and therefore receive the same level of service. This solution will be far better for people who use day centres and their carers than ending the service altogether.”
The transport service provides home to school journeys for more than 3,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities, with almost half of those travelling on the council’s own Travelcare buses.
More than 1,000 disabled and older people also use the service to access day care and other community-based activities.
The council is reducing the fleet by around 50 vehicles, with around 65 fewer frontline staff needed to deliver the newly configured service.