Town’s Dial-a-ride service more than just a bus

AFTER taking a trip on the DACT dial-a-ride service it’s easy to see how it’s viewed as more than just a bus.

This is a service that gives people a social life, puts smiles on faces and offers an invaluable lifeline for those who have no-one else.

The buses run on Tuesday and Friday taking people to and from the town so they can do their shopping on market days.

But this bus is one of the services under threat if DACT loses its £31,000 grant from Northamptonshire County Council next year.

The Daventry Express is spearheading a campaign to make sure this doesn’t happen, and well over 1,000 signatures have already been collected.

Marion Cox, 75, lives on Drayton and was one those travelling with me on Friday afternoon.

She said: “There are no other buses in this area and I have mobility problems so without it I would be stuck at home.

“I use the bus on Tuesday and Friday and do a bit of my shopping on both days. The drivers are excellent. They carry our shopping to the front door and are ever so helpful.

“I also get to meet other people and socialise. I haven’t got any family living in the Daventry area to help so I’d be stuck at home without this.”

Husband and wife Rose and Ray Graham, who live on the Southbrook, also use the service twice a week to do their shopping. Mrs Graham, 68, said: “We have trouble getting around and don’t have any transport so we would really struggle without this.

“We also have a good chat with people on the bus and we have all become friends. I remember a while a go I had to go to the hospital twice a week for 12-weeks and the DACT drivers took me to every single appointment – they are wonderful.”

The campaign to save DACT has grown and grown since it was launched three weeks ago, and petitions can now also be signed in the McDonald’s restaurant on Vicar Lane and at Costa Coffee in Bowen Square.

DACT chief executive Rob Kinning said: “Lots of community groups have also been raising money for us. Warwick Court senior citizens home raised £210 with a coffee morning and cream tea event.

“Wayne Cox donated £500 after climbing Mount Snowdon with Reach for Health gym and £325 was raise with a tombola outside DACT Shopmobility.

“Individuals have also been dropping in and handed over money, we even had one person donating £50. We’d love to now get between 3,000 and 5,000 signatures.”

Back on the bus Ron Turner, who’s been a volunteer driver for four years, summed up the importance of the service telling me: “More people use the bus now than when I started. The users tell us that without it they just couldn’t cope.”