A VILLAGE that lost all of its bus services, leaving some of its residents cut off from basic services, has worked together to come up with a community solution.
The Sadberge Travel Club will provide a lifeline for residents in the village without cars, running a twice weekly taxi service in conjunction with Darlington firm 1AB, into the town centre.
The subsidised buses that previously served the village came to an end in December after Darlington Borough Council ended its financial support due to budget cuts.
A bid to set up a more formal minibus service in Sadberge and surrounding villages, the Darlington Area Transport scheme, dubbed the Dart, failed to win funding last year due to the need for on-going subsidies.
Alastair Mackenzie, a director of Dart, which set up the new travel club, said the new service is a stop gap, designed to help those who need it most, while the village continues to fight for a proper daily bus service.
The village held a public meeting to launch the travel scheme, with members paying £13 a quarter in subscriptions and £3 for a return journey into Darlington town centre.
If a resident wishes to use the service, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.45am, they must book a place two days in advance at the village’s community cafe.
Mr Mackenzie said: “The travel club is not a replacement bus service but we are trying to make life more bearable for people without transport. So far we have 25 members, including a number of people who have cars but want to support their village.
“We have to thank the staff in the village hall who are taking the bookings for us and arranging the taxis for each trip.”
Councillor Brian Jones, ward member for Sadberge, who is also a director of Dart, was present for the first trip by the travel club.
He said: ““It’s great that we have had such a positive response to the travel club and proves how much residents are missing their regular bus service.
“The club will operate for as long as needed, but hopefully only until we are able to reinstate a limited daily bus service for residents of Sadberge, Bishopton and other villages in the area”.