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CT Award Winner

Readibus judged best in England for community transport provision during the Covid 19 pandemic

ReadiBus was judged at the CT Awards to have been the best community transport service in England (and a runner-up in the entire UK) for its service provision during the pandemic

The CT Awards in November 2021 named ReadiBus as the best community transport service in England - and a runner-up for the whole of the UK - for its service provision during the pandemic. The award was in the headline category of ‘Community Transport Provider of the Year’ and the ceremony highlighted the service provided during the last 18 months by community transport organisations throughout the length and breadth of the country. You can read the Reading Chronicle's story here.

Over 60,000 safe essential journeys have been made on ReadiBus since the start of the first lockdown, including over 2,000 journeys during that first lockdown in 2020.

Bill Freeman, Chief Executive of the Community Transport Association, which held the CT Awards, offered his "huge congratulations for the incredible work over the last year and a half", adding, "our judges were impressed".

Throughout the pandemic, the ReadiBus service has provided a safe means for elderly, disabled and clinically extremely vulnerable people to make essential journeys, whether this has been for food shopping, medical appointments, respite or any other reason; and ReadiBus worked side by side with the South Central Ambulance Service to enable local people to safely get to non-Covid-related hospital appointments, such as for cancer treatment and dialysis, helping people when they were most in need.

Cllr Tony Page, Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport at Reading Borough Council, commented: “This is another well-deserved national accolade for Reading’s ReadiBus service which provides a lifeline for so many people. The value of ReadiBus has particularly come to the fore throughout the health emergency and my huge congratulations go to everyone at ReadiBus.”

"I am delighted that our team have received this recognition at the CT Awards", commented ReadiBus General Manager, Peter Absolon. "There are hundreds and hundreds of community transport service providers in the 4 nations of the UK, all doing wonderful work, and for the ReadiBus team to be recognised in this way for service provided during such a challenging time as this pandemic is quite something. ReadiBus staff showed great commitment to keep the service available and to ensure that it was safe, especially during the first lockdown. People needed a safe means of getting out, whether that was to get food, to attend a medical or hospital appointment, for respite, whatever the reason. I am so proud of what we did and what we achieved together’".

Those who relied upon the ReadiBus during the lockdowns were also very grateful. For example, Mrs Markham from Woodley commented during the first lockdown back in May 2020: "I know I’m safe travelling with you".

The Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Steve McManus, wrote in a letter to ReadiBus at the end of the first lockdown (in June 2020) that ReadiBus’ support "has been truly outstanding" and that the service "has been a life-line for many".

Readibus And SCAS Working Side By Side Together At The RBH May 2020 A

Above: ReadiBus and South Central Ambulance Service working side-by-side at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in May 2020.

 

ReadiBus General Manager, Peter Absolon, added: "In the first lockdown, journeys had to be provided one at a time, for social distancing, with a deep clean after every journey in order to keep the travelling environment safe. It was difficult to source enough PPE at the outset but the ambulance service were great and helped us with that and we always had just enough for what we needed each day. We were very strict in our procedures - our team were determined to keep the virus out and to keep safe both ourselves and everyone who needed to travel. Some staff teams rotated to get breathers but the service itself remained available every day. It was exhausting - but it was what was needed".

As well as giving people the means and the confidence to make the essential journeys that they needed to make, the ReadiBus team also made hundreds of calls to people who were on their own who were not making journeys, to check they were OK. The comments that the team received from those contacted included for example, “It’s so nice to talk to someone rather than myself”.

The ReadiBus service is funded by Reading Borough Council, Wokingham Borough Council, Woodley Town Council and a number of other funders. ReadiBus General Manager, Peter Absolon, added: “Our grateful thanks to Reading Borough Council and to our other funders for their amazing support that has enabled us to do what we have done during these last 21 months”.

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What is ReadiBus?

First established 40 years ago on 19th October 1981, the ReadiBus service is an alternative type of bus for people with restricted mobility who cannot use ordinary public transport. The ReadiBus comes to your door and the driver provides whatever assistance you need to make independent journeys safely.

ReadiBus enables people to independently make every-day journeys such as for shopping, attending medical appointments, seeing friends and generally being able to do things for oneself. In this way, the ReadiBus service can have a positive impact on physical and mental well-being and can improve quality of life. The service enables people with restricted mobility to get out and about and can be a help to people to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible. Read more here


ReadiBus during the pandemic

The ReadiBus service was available throughout the pandemic, including during the first lockdown and during each of the subsequent lockdowns. The service enabled elderly, disabled and clinically extremely vulnerable people to make essential journeys safely in the circumstances of the pandemic, such as for attending GP and hospital appointments, food shopping and respite.

 

9 Dec 21