Transport for London (TfL) has extended the operating hours of its free Dial-a-Ride service to midnight, with the last pick up at 2300hrs, to support older people and those with long-term disabilities to socialise at night. Dial-a-Ride services will also be extended further over the festive period to allow people to enjoy Christmas festivities for longer, the operator has said.
TfL says that the extended hours have been introduced following engagement with users and as booking requests begin to increase following the pandemic. Through speaking to Dial-a-Ride members with a variety of accessibility needs, it identified that some people who rely on Dial-a-Ride services had to leave social events at 2030hrs as Dial-a-Ride only operated until 2200hrs following the pandemic. TfL says that during the pandemic trip volumes reduced significantly and it hopes that by further promoting the extended Dial-a-Ride operating hours more people will make use of the service. It has already recruited 12 additional drivers to meet the increased demand, as well as more staff to reduce call waiting times, and is also implementing a new booking system which will launch later this year and will allow members to book trips online, as well as over the phone and via email.
London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport Seb Dance, said: “The Mayor and I are committed to making London’s transport as inclusive as possible and I’m delighted that Dial-a-Ride is extending their hours. Dial-a-Ride is a vital service for many Londoners and these longer hours of service will ensure disabled and older Londoners can socialise more and make the most of London’s culture, entertainment, and hospitality – including over the festive period – helping to build a better, more inclusive London for all.”
Head of Dial-a-Ride at TfL James Mead added: “Our free door-to-door, Dial-a-Ride services enables people of all ages with accessibility needs to get where they need to be. It helps boost their social contact and reduce isolation, which makes a real difference to people’s lives. We’re committed to ensuring that more Londoners take advantage of this vital free service, which is why we’re investing to improve Dial-a-Ride further with extended opening hours, additional staff and a new simpler booking system. We’re also increasing our engagement with local groups and healthcare providers to promote Dial-a-Ride to more people.”