A hospital shuttle bus service will be withdrawn later this month because not enough passengers are using it.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council stepped in to trial a replacement daily service between the hospitals in Bridlington and Scarborough in July last year, with a number of partners, including the Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), agreeing to underwrite any costs.
It had been hoped that during the trial passenger numbers would rise to a level where the £5 fares charged for a return journey would cover running costs in their entirety, but more than six months on and despite the efforts of partners to advertise the service, just 140 passengers use the shuttle bus in a typical week, significantly lower than the 350 needed to make the service self-financing.
The trial service will therefore come to an end on 29 January.
Cllr Andy Burton, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s portfolio holder for planning, highways and transportation, said: “Our trial shuttle bus was used by passengers and people found it very useful, but unfortunately it was only covering just over a third of its overall costs. We extended the trial to give it another chance, and the other partners made a contribution to costs and helped us advertise the service, but unfortunately the service has come nowhere near to being self-financing.”
Scarborough and Ryedale CCG Chief Officer, Simon Cox, said: “Even though the vast majority of patients using this service travel from Bridlington – which is outside of the area covered by this CCG – we were happy to support this trial in the hope that the numbers of paying passengers would eventually increase to cover the costs of running the service, but regrettably this hasn’t happened.
“Given the financial pressures we are under, we can no longer justify spending money on a service where there is only a negligible benefit for the people we look after in Scarborough and Ryedale and there are other spending priorities.
“We appreciate this decision will have an impact on some of our patients and though there are regular commercial bus and train services between Scarborough and Bridlington that people can utilise, we recognise these might not be suitable for everyone.”
Details of bus services between Scarborough and Bridlington are available on the website of the operator, EYMS, www.eyms.co.uk or from Busline on 01482 592929. Rail information can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk or by calling 03457 484950.
Any patients in the Scarborough and Ryedale area who may encounter difficulties as a result of this decision, should contact our Patient Liaison Team for assistance by email, SCRCCG.PatientRelations@nhs.net or phone, 01723 383638.
Patients living in the area covered by the East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group who may have difficulties are advised to contact their Patient Relations Service by email, ERYCCG.ComplaintsAndConcerns@nhs.net or call 01482 672047.
The Scarborough and Ryedale CCG continues to provide a non-emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS) for suitable patients referred for consultations, treatment or procedures provided within the hospital or community setting. Patients who believe they are suitable for PTS and need transport should call 0300 330 2000 as soon as they receive an appointment.
Patients may also be able to claim reasonable travel costs to and from appointments under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme if they are on low incomes, or are in receipt of qualifying benefits – for further information visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/Pages/Travelcosts.aspx
There's also more information about claiming transport costs here: http://www.scarboroughryedaleccg.nhs.uk/your-health/claiming-transport-costs-for-accessing-health-services/