3:58pm Thursday 14th March 2013
By Dominic Sutton
The Leader of Redbridge Council has angrily denied TfL claims of a U-turn over a decision to ticket Dial-a-Ride bus drivers dropping pensioners off outside Redbridge Central Library.
Dial-a-Ride provides transport for hundreds of pensioners unable to use conventional public transport.
But the TfL-run service has recently instructed its drivers not to drop passengers off for fortnightly meetings of the Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum in Clements Road, Ilford after wardens began issuing penalty charges.
The road is currently restricted to scheduled bus services and licensed taxis.
Last week Council Leader Keith Prince said the only way to exempt Dial-a-Ride was for TfL to reclassify the service.
But in a statement released today, Paul Blackwell, Dial a Ride General Manager at TfL, said: “Redbridge Council has instructed staff not to issue penalty notices to Dial-a-Ride minibuses picking up and dropping off passengers on Clements Road.”
That statement was blasted by Keith Prince, who said: “We have not made any final decision on this matter.
“We think there is a solution, and that it may well be for TfL to redesignate the service.
“While I think we will get there, negotiations are at a very delicate stage.
“I am very disappointed that they have not shared this with us before coming to you.
“If we were to make an exemption for Dial-a-Ride, then next week Addison Lee or whoever could say that they are also dropping pensioners off and want the same privilege.”
In an email to John Coombes, chair of the Redbridge Pensioners Forum, John Daly, Dial-a-Ride Operations Manager, confirmed the apparent climbdown.
He wrote: “I have instructed our staff to return to normal line of route with immediate effect.”
Mr Coombes said: “I shall be telling my members to board the Dial-a-Ride bus on Monday and I expect them to be dropped off outside the library without any trouble.
“I can’t understand what is going on. Someone, somewhere clearly doesn’t know what the hell they are doing.”
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