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DESPITE some improvements, Transport for London’s Dial-a-ride service continues to be plagued by significant problems, says a London Assembly report.

The findings by the Assembly’s Transport Committee show TfL has not fully resolved concerns the Committee raised a year ago on behalf of people who use Dial-a-Ride, particularly around availability, efficiency, the booking process and user consultation.

The Committee today makes a number of specific recommendations to the Mayor and TfL that would improve the service for the 50,000 Londoners who are members of Dial-a-Ride, a free door-to-transport service for people with disabilities.

The report notes that TfL has introduced a range of measures over the past year to improve Dial-a-Ride’s performance, and a comparison of surveys of Dial-a-Ride users in 2009 and 2010 shows people have noticed an improvement in some aspects of the service.

However, Dial-a-Ride is still providing fewer journeys than it did in 2001/02 – despite a large increase in operational expenditure – and remains significantly below target in its performance.

Users are also still experiencing long waiting times and often make repeated attempts to get through to book a ride.

Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon AM, said:

“It cannot be right that Dial-a-Ride is providing fewer journeys than it did eight years ago but is spending 70 per cent more on the service.

“The improvements to some aspects of the service are welcome, but it’s disappointing that people are still experiencing some of the same old problems with the booking system.

“People rely on Dial-a-Ride and are entitled to expect a consistent and reliable service – I urge Transport for London to take the necessary steps to make this a reality.”

The report also calls on TfL to conduct an assessment of the potential for more coordination between Dial-a-Ride and local community transport services.

The Committee believes this could result in more journeys and a more consistent service for people.