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Trial of taxi tokens aids independence

PUBLISHED: 16:08 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 July 2010

TRAVEL BOOST: Keith Bright with taxi driver George Whitbread.

TRAVEL BOOST: Keith Bright with taxi driver George Whitbread.

Miles Jermy

MORE passengers are enjoying the freedom to travel this week with the launch of a taxi token scheme in the borough.

It is providing a lifeline to people with often severe mobility problems who struggle to use local bus services.

MORE passengers are enjoying the freedom to travel this week with the launch of a taxi token scheme in the borough.

It is providing a lifeline to people with often severe mobility problems who struggle to use local bus services.

Tokens worth £70 have been issued to the 25 participants on three month trial - all of whom qualify for concessionary bus passes.

Aimed at increasing access to public transport, it has been funded from revenue raised from council tax on second homes.

Keith and Glenys Bright, from Gorleston, were among those taking advantage of their new-found independence.

Mr Bright, 48, suffers from multiple sclerosis, is confined to a wheelchair and cannot use the local buses that do not have disabled access.

“It works perfectly - taxi travel is expensive and buses are not accessible so this is really vital to people like us,” he said.

“I have a car, but am not always well enough to drive and my wife has mobility problems and cannot lift my wheelchair. Without a taxi we would not be able to go out together and I definitely hope this is made permanent.

“We know of at least 20 or more people who could benefit from having taxi tokens.”

Christine Hacon, from Caister, was full of praise for the scheme and is also hoping it can be extended beyond the trial period.

Mrs Hacon suffers from MS and has been using taxis to travel into Great Yarmouth and attend the FST support group in Bradwell.

“I cannot catch the buses unless there is someone with me, I suffer from memory loss and need to be told where to get off,” she said

“Buses move off before I sit down and I have balance problems, so using a taxi is much safer for me.”

Doreen Beckett has been enjoying getting out and about using the taxi tokens she described as “the best thing since sliced bread.”

Mrs Beckett, from Yarmouth, suffers from severe asthma and has lived alone since her husband Ralph died more than two years ago.

She said: “I would like to get out more often, but cannot always afford it and am more than delighted the scheme is running.

“I have to rely on friends and family to take me out and this will give them a well deserved break - the drivers are very nice and even carry my shopping in.”

Four taxi firms and the car link

service have signed up for the

scheme organised by Community Connections rural transport co-ordinator Tony Rozier.

It has been launched with the support of MP Tony Wright, transport minister Rosie Winterton and follows consultations with clubs, societies and the Older People's Network

Mr Rozier said: “Although it is early days for the taxi token trial I am pleasantly surprised by the use that the participants have already put their tokens to and the enhanced access to services that it has given them.”

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