CUSTOMERS and staff celebrated 30 years of Redditch Borough Council’s Dial-A-Ride service last week with a tea party for more than 200 people.

Dial a Ride, which provides door to door transport for people who have difficulty walking and are unable to use public transport, was first set up in 1989 by Redditch Council for Voluntary Services with two buses.

It now has five buses and more than 360 customers a week who use the service to make journeys to the shops, to visit family and friends, for leisure or for medical appointments.

The service has recently replaced four of its fleet for new, upgraded, liveried buses which service users, residents and campaign followers were invited to name.

Whilst a few Bussy McBusface’s were thrown into the mix, the winning names were announced at the event as being Fred, Wilma, Betty, Barney and Bam Bam of the Flintstones.

The names are now proudly displayed on the side of each of the buses.

The event was attended by mayor of Redditch councillor Roger Bennett.

Cllr Bennett said: “I am proud that our community transport service is still going strong after 30 years and hope it continues well into the future. We should make this an annual event so our most isolated residents can get together to share a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

"Congratulations to all of the officers who helped make this event a success; it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.”

Councillor Julian Grubb, portfolio holder for community services, also attended the event and spent quite some time speaking to various users who enthusiastically commended the drivers for the care and consideration to their clients.

Cllr Grubb said: “The turnout for this event has reinforced my belief that this service is vital to many residents, of all ages, who live alone and do not have a car.

"It is more than just a transport service and helps combat social isolation which in turn has an impact on other public services such as the NHS.”

Details of the Dial a Ride service are available on the council website.