Consideration of the Ring & Ride and Community Car Services in your Parish
The Okehampton District Community Transport Group (ODCTG) exists to serve the
older or more disabled members of our community by providing them with the means of
getting about when they are unable to use either their own or public transport. We are
very proud of our service, which has been in existence for 30 years.
Our Ring & Ride fifteen-seat minibus, which can cater easily for wheelchair passengers,
does daily trips to and from Okehampton from different locations each day. All our
passengers tell us how grateful they are for this service. For some it is the only day
they get out of the house to meet other people.
When the lockdown started we stopped our Ring and Ride and Lifestyle trips but
continued to offer our volunteer car scheme and wheelchair accessible vehicles as we
were lucky enough to still have some volunteers who were willing to continue despite the
restrictions. This has meant that our clients (and many new clients) have been able to
attend urgent appointments with our volunteers, many of whom had been in isolation for
several weeks or months themselves, meaning it was much safer for them with our
service rather than using public buses or taxis.
Due to the increase in demand we now have two wheelchair accessible vehicles which are
used for visits to doctors or hospitals, and also to supplement the minibus for other
For those who prefer a more personal one-to-one service to get them to the doctor’s or
hospital or any social visits there is the Community Car Scheme which is provided by
volunteer drivers using their own cars. Again our passengers express their appreciation
of this service without which they would have great difficulty. As so many of our clients
are in rural locations we run up a lot of ‘dead’ miles which we need to pay the driver but
which the passengers do not pay for, to try and help those who find it difficult to pay
for transport out of their income.
In 2016 we purchased a 15 seater minibus which we are using as a community bus,
available to groups as well as our own lifestyle trips. The trips run each Saturday and we
also have weekday trips on different days to try and suit more clients. It is regularly
booked by groups such as the Parkinsons, MS Group, local Church and youth groups. We
keep the costs as low as possible, just covering our costs, however we do need to obtain
funding for the ongoing insurance and regular servicing costs.
The demand for our car scheme continues to increase each year putting our service
under pressure. We currently have over 1600 individual clients registered with our
scheme plus we provide assistance with local care homes and facilities. In the year
2019/20 we carried 3807 passengers on 6248 journeys. The majority of these journeys
were for health appointments and some for social/domestic purposes. Our wonderful
drivers clocked up 109,561 miles and over 10,300 volunteer hours! Our car scheme cost
£26000 to run last year, this is after fares paid by passengers has been taken into
We cover a very rural area of approximately 274 square miles with transport out of our
catchment area to healthcare appointments.
We currently have 15 clients registered in your area, some of whom use us on a
regular basis for the Ring and Ride shopping bus, for Wheelchair Accessible
Transport, our Volunteer Car Scheme and lifestyle trips
This year has been very difficult so far with all our fundraising events being cancelled,
our fares much reduced but with the same overheads such as office rent, insurance etc.
We have also had to send drivers long distances to collect clients due to so many of our
drivers not being available during the pandemic which has increased our dead mileage
Devon County Council and West Devon Borough Council currently provide funding to
ODCTG, although DCC have not increased this in over 10 years and WDBC cut the grant
by 50% last year and there are no guarantees that this funding will be available in future
years. We do appreciate that in the present financial climate your Council may find it
hard to finance all it wishes to do, but it is also now that we desperately need your
support more than ever if we are to keep up our vital services. The general increases in
all costs and especially the seemingly unstoppable rise in that of fuel means that our
services are running at a loss. If your Council has supported us in the past, our most
grateful thanks and the hope that you will be able to continue to do so. If not please,
please, try and help us this year.
Our budget is closely monitored by Devon County Council and they have approved our
business plan for the forthcoming year. Our accounts have been filed with the Charity
Commission on time every year and are available to view online.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and to consider our request. Please do
not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about us or you would like one
of us to come and do a presentation at one of your meetings.
Mrs Sue Wonnacott