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WALES: Plea to keep transport alive.

THE WELSH Assembly has been urged to save a vital community transport service regarded as a lifeline by the elderly, sick and vulnerable.

Last year, almost 14,000 people in Flintshire were taken for medical appointments, luncheon clubs, shopping and social outings by Buckley-based Welsh Border Community Transport (WBCT).

But the Assembly is set to withdraw the pounds 120,000 funding which is needed to keep the service on the road.

Its plight was recently highlighted by the Daily Post.

Now Flintshire County Council deputy leader and environment portfolio holder Coun Tony Sharps has appealed to the Assembly to think again before withdrawing the funding.

In a letter to Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones he said: "If funding is withdrawn, it will not be possible for them to continue to provide the level of service currently offered to vulnerable people in the local communities they serve.

"The greatest impact will be on the full-time managers and drivers, which this funding supported.

"This small core trained workforce has provided some stability to the organisation and enabled far better forward planning for regular users, particularly wheelchair users, increasing patronage immedsely.

"In many cases, the services are literally a lifeline for passengers to access key services, such as health, welfare, leisure and shops in more urban areas.

"The withdrawal of Welsh Assembly Government funding would have a devastating effect on the local communities served by WBCT across Flintshire, which is the reason I am writing to you in the hope that you can help."

Coun Sharps is also asking the Deputy Minister to consider maintaining the grant to the Deeside Shuttle bus service, which is used by many workers in the area.

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Tony Sharps
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 20, 2009
Words:284
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