A new on-demand subsidised taxi service is being trialled by Devon County Council to help key workers travel to and from work.
The impact of the coronavirus has seen bus companies report up to a 90% reduction in passenger numbers, leading to a drastic reduction in services and many companies only maintaining critical routes.
In order to replace those journeys previously made by bus, the County Council is introducing the “Key Cars” initiative which provides key workers with lifts to work for a subsidised flat fare.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for transport, said: “We don’t have enough information to know the make-up of the remaining 10% of passengers still using local bus services, but some will be key workers needing to travel. Other key workers may well be facing difficulty getting to and from work because of reductions in public transport.
“This pilot taxi service is intended to replace journeys that were being made by bus services which have been put on hold during the current pandemic. Key workers that rely on public transport still need to get to work, and we have stepped in by subsidising this scheme to support them and make it as easy as possible for them to continue with their vital roles at this time.
“This scheme is only for key workers – we’re asking them to email us and we will try as quickly as possible to make regular arrangements with any available taxi company. Cars have to be booked 48 hours in advance, but if regular travel is needed, the individual will only need to contact us once.”
Requests can only be made by email and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The key car service is intended to complement existing bus services which are still running. If there is still a bus operating on your route to work you should continue to use this, and our officers will check this before taking your booking.
Key workers making a booking are asked to include the following information in their email: Name, Address, Key worker status, Employer / Payroll ref, Journey requirements (pick up/drop off).
Every effort will be made to respond to all requests as soon as possible during normal office hours.