DRIVERS in Dorset Council’s travel team have been lending their skills and support to help vulnerable residents.
With day centres closed, Dorset Council drivers are supporting vulnerable residents by delivering hot meals and by taking people into centres for essential personal care which cannot be delivered at home.
In one exceptional case, the team helped move a pregnant woman on behalf of the Housing and Community Services Team.
The travel team is playing a key role in transporting people home following a stay in temporary hotel accommodation after leaving hospital. They are also continuing to help key worker and Special Education Needs children get to school, including throughout the Easter holidays.
Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “We’re proud to be able to offer our transport services to support vulnerable residents through these unusual times.
“A special thanks to all those involved in the co-ordinating and organising of our drivers and fleet to get patients home, sometimes with just 24-hours’ notice.
“We’re helping to protect our drivers by installing clear PVC trims inside the 40 vehicles being used and we’ve provided comprehensive guidelines to all our drivers on social distancing and other ways to ensure safe travel in our vehicles.
“With many of our drivers and passenger assistants falling into the high-risk category, we’ve been providing transport services with reduced staffing to further protect our workforce, and their families. It really is a team effort.”
Dorset Council is doing everything possible to maintain public transport services across the county. The council has committed to honouring tendered services for public and school transport, to maintaining concessionary bus pass reimbursement and providing grant support at the usual levels.
The travel team is also facilitating support to private transport providers during this time through the COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG), which was recently announced by government.
This grant will help to maintain appropriate bus services for key workers, and for other essential journeys where residents don’t have access to a vehicle. It will also help to ensure that transport operators remain in business when Britain gets back to work.