Later pick-ups from Dial-a-Ride will allow older people to party

Transport for London agrees to extend hours of the service after lobbying from charities

Dial-A-Ride customers (credit TfL)
Dial-A-Ride customers (credit TfL)

The operating hours of London’s free Dial-a-Ride service are being extended to midnight “to support older Londoners and those with disabilities to socialise at night”.

The last pick-up time will now be at 11pm, while the service will be extended further over the festive period to allow people to enjoy Christmas festivities for longer. The extended hours have been introduced following engagement with users and as booking requests begin to increase following the pandemic.

Transport for London (TfL) says it has been working closely with Transport for All and Age UK London to improve Dial-a-Ride services and to get feedback from members who use it. Charities said that some people who rely on Dial-a-Ride services had to leave social events at 8.30pm as it was only operating until 10pm following the pandemic.

Seb Dance, deputy mayor for transport, said: “The mayor and I are committed to making London’s transport as inclusive as possible and I’m delighted that Dial-a-Ride is extending their hours.

“Dial-a-Ride is a vital service for many Londoners and these longer hours of service will ensure disabled and older Londoners can socialise more and make the most of London’s culture, entertainment, and hospitality – including over the festive period – helping to build a better, more inclusive London for all.”

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James Mead, head of Dial-a-Ride at TfL, said: “Our free door-to-door, Dial-a-Ride services enables people of all ages with accessibility needs to get where they need to be. It helps boost their social contact and reduce isolation, which makes a real difference to people’s lives.

“We’re committed to ensuring that more Londoners take advantage of this vital free service, which is why we’re investing to improve Dial-a-Ride further with extended opening hours, additional staff and a new simpler booking system. We’re also increasing our engagement with local groups and healthcare providers to promote Dial-a-Ride to more people.”

Madeleine Stewart from Transport for All added: “Dial-a-ride is a lifeline for those who use it, and we are delighted that TfL has listened and is making some of the improvements its users want and need. The limited hours of operation and problems with the booking system were key concerns identified in our research; participants said it made them feel cut off from the world.

“Extending opening hours until midnight will allow thousands of disabled and older Londoners to live their lives with freedom and independence, and we hope that TfL will continue to listen to its users, and invest in this absolutely vital service.”

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