Express & Star comment: Efforts must be made to save Ring and Ride buses
The collapse of the Ring and Ride service detailed in today’s Express & Star leaves some serious questions to be answered.
The service, which is run by Accessible Transport Group (ATG), transports elderly and disabled people across the region to day centres, churches and hospitals.
It is under threat after its operator went into administration, putting hundreds of jobs at risk and casting doubt over the future of much-needed services.
There are growing fears that elderly and disabled people could be cut off if the service is lost, with many people reliant on Ring and Ride to get from A to B.
This is not a small operation we are talking about.
The business has been running since 1983 and has a fleet of 120 buses for customers across the Black Country and the wider West Midlands.
It has more than 72,000 regular users and takes around 8,000 calls a week from vulnerable people who struggle to use public transport, while 2,800 children and adults with special needs use the service to travel to schools and colleges across the region.
Sadly, we frequently take services such as this for granted.
They exist for so many years that we consider them as part of the furniture, and never question what would happen if something was to go wrong.
Make no mistake, the impact of any closure of this service will be deeply felt.
Many of the people who use Ring and Ride have no other way of getting around.
Without the service, they will be exposed to isolation and loneliness.
It is no exaggeration to say that the service is a lifeline for many people, and with that in mind, it is crucial that the relevant authorities come together to look at ways to save it.
That means local councils, transport bosses and private enterprises.
It is imperative that everyone comes together to stop Ring and Ride from disappearing.
There also needs to be a thorough examination of what went wrong, to ensure that it does not happen again.
For now all we can do is hope that a solution is found quickly – for the sake of staff and service users.