Driving a Handybus

 

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Driving a Handybus

 

Ever fancied being a bus driver? We'll show you how ...
(although it won't be as big as this!)

What is a Handybus?

Handybuses are provided by West Berkshire Council and are operated by a network of independent voluntary community transport operators.

Newbury's two Handybuses are 10/11 seater minibuses modified to provide easy access, including low steps and passenger lifts to enable wheelchair bound passengers to be carried.

They provide regular transport for elderly and disabled people on shopping trips and visits to clubs, mostly in and around Newbury and Thatcham, as well as one-off trips and excursions where regular commitments permit.

Clive Loveless, volunteer Handybus driver, with one of our two shiny new Handybuses supplied by West Berkshire Council in April 2010

As well as the Handybuses, we own and operate a 'Chairman' vehicle. This is a Fiat Doblo people carrier modified to provide accommodation for a wheelchair and easy access for disabled people.

The Volunteer Centre West Berkshire Fiat Doblo 'Chairman' vehicle

West Berkshire council are responsible for servicing and maintaining the vehicles, but Volunteer Centre West Berkshire organises the service, recruits the drivers and pays the running costs. We do this from the subsidised fares paid by the passengers of the service, but are also dependent on donations and fundraising activities.

So how can I help?

We always need drivers to ensure the continuity of this service on which so many people depend. If you can find some time, on a regular or casual basis, to use your physical fitness, caring attitude and reliability to help the people we serve in your community, we should be delighted to hear from you.

What will I need to do?

As the Handybuses are equipped to carry more than eight people, you will need to take some basic training to learn about the operation of the bus and to ensure the safe boarding, transport and disembarking of our passengers. At the end of the training you will take a nationally approved test, administered by West Berkshire, which will qualify you to be a Handybus driver. (This test is not required for operating the 'Chairman' vehicle).

You then just need to decide how much time you can offer to the service. As most of our trips are regularly scheduled, your availability can be fitted in with these in advance. We also have requirements for one-off journeys in between the regular trips, so it is always welcome if you can sometimes be available for these occasions; you will normally be given several days notice of the arrangements.

Although your services are offered on a voluntary basis, we will pay your private car mileage from your home to the operator's base and back each time you drive for us.

OK, I'm interested - who do I talk to?

If you think that you could help, we should be delighted if you could drop in for a chat or give us a phone call with no obligation. Please contact:

Newbury Handybus Coordinator
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire
1 Bolton Place
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 1AJ

Tel: 01635 37111

or email us at handybus@vcwb.org.uk

A few hours of your time would make a lot of difference to a lot of people.