The Dengie Dial and Ride Transport scheme (DaRT 99), Maldon District’s radical and perhaps unique bus service, which effectively operates a door-to-door service between points in the Dengie Peninsula and Broomfield Hospital has enjoyed growth in almost every month since it started back in May 2010. The project is a result of cross sector partnership working with RCCE, Essex County Council and Arrow Taxis Maldon, and aims to improve access to services for people living in the remote part of the district. The scheme has been so successful that the model has now been expanded by Essex County Council and operators Arrow to include a further bus, DaRT 5, providing a really useful additional service, which is making a very positive impact towards addressing social exclusion in the district.
The report on prime-time TV will focus on the DaRT 5 service, which although has only been in operation for a few months, has seen extraordinary growth in passenger numbers. “It bucks the trend in these difficult financial times” commented Andy Ambrose, Arrow Taxis. “When you start a new bus service, especially something like Dart 5 with its no-route no-timetable operation, there is a risk that no one will use it, but in fact, the DaRT has recorded staggering growth and the passenger satisfaction is very high. It’s making a real difference to people in local communities.”
Two DaRT services 99 and 5, now operate on a regular basis on weekdays; the DaRT 99 between Dengie, Asheldham, Mayland, Althorne, Cold Norton, Stow Maries, Maldon, Heybridge, Hatfield Peverel Station and Broomfield Hospital; the DaRT 5 between Burnham on Crouch, Ostend, Althorne, North Fambridge, Cold Norton, Stow Maries and South Woodham Ferrers, with links to Latchingdon to provide further journey opportunities by connection with the 31X and D1/D2 buses.
The service is open to everyone and accepts all Essex and National Concessionary Bus Passes. Full details of the service are available on RCCE website on www.essexrcc.org.uk or by phoning the service operator, Arrow Taxis Maldon on 01621 874410.
Don’t miss watching ‘Inside Out’ on BBC East TV, on Friday 8th March at 19.30