A popular dial-a-ride scheme says funding shortages mean it is being forced to close its doors.

The present cheme will close on March 31, Guy Padfield-Wilkins, managing director of Woking Community Transport, has said.

In a letter to members seen by the News & Mail, Mr Padfield-Wilkins says: “The funding cut by Woking Borough Council [WBC] and our increased operating costs mean we have little option but to close the current dial-a-ride scheme as of the March 31. I realise this will be devastating news to many of you, and I can only assure you we have done all we can to save the current scheme.

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(Woking Community Transport)

“Neither WBC nor Surrey County Council can help fund the service. We have looked at options from sponsorship to grant funding, but have been unable to identify suitable grants or secure sponsorship. We have met on several occasions with our MP, Jonathan Lord, who provided great support to us.

“Whilst WBC has been unable to provide funding for the dial-a-ride scheme, we are grateful to the council for allowing us to remain in our offices at the Red House, Brookwood, and for agreeing to lease us minibus parking off Cherry Street, Woking.

“Savings achieved from not moving offices will help fund a vehicle to operate a community day centre service to Hale End Court. In addition, we will be able to operate a reduced dial-a-ride service within Woking borough.

“We plan to introduce a self-funding dial-a-ride scheme for Woking residents. To achieve this, we regrettably must apply a membership fee of £26 per annum, payable in advance annually on April 1; there will be an option to pay this fee biannually (£13 on April 1 and £13 on October 1). We can hold journey fares at their current rate by introducing a membership fee.

“The new service will only operate between 9.30am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday and will be restricted to Woking borough. We will regrettably be unable to provide transport to the following hospitals: St Peters, The Royal Surrey and Ashford.

“We deeply regret that after 32 years of dedicated service, we have been forced into reducing the service you rely on and have become accustomed to.”