Minibus companies merge

TWO of North Somerset s biggest community transport groups have voted to merge.

TWO of North Somerset's biggest community transport groups have voted to merge.

Weston and District Community Transport (W&DCT) and Weston Dial-a-Ride have agreed to become one charitable organisation in the hope it will increase their chances of securing funding for their voluntary services.

Both organisations provide a minibus service for people unable to use public transport, most of who are disabled.

The decision to merge was made at the annual general meeting of W&DCT, which will become half of the newly formed, Weston and District Community Transport Group Limited.

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It was also decided that the group's services needed to be extended to cover outlying villages and health services.

However, W&DCT chairman Vick Ryland is still worried as he was warned by North Somerset Council the group may not receive as much funding as expected.

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He said: "We have become a bigger organisation, yet we may receive less funding than we did just for W&DCT

"I have asked our members to write individual letters to the council campaigning for more money. We also have petitions in each of our minibuses for people to sign to show their support for our cause.

"In the last year, there have been more than 34,000 individual trips made by people using both groups, which shows how vital our service is."

Mr Ryland also said he was concerned the council does not fully understand the service the groups provide after the liaison officer employed to communicate between them and the authority called him to find out exactly what they do.

He said: "I am planning to go along to the next meeting of the council to tell them exactly what we do and to encourage them to give us funding.

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