West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s AccessBus provides vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s AccessBus, that usually provides door-to-door bus services to support people with limited mobility, has continued to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

6 July 2020

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s AccessBus, that usually provides door-to-door bus services to support people with limited mobility, has continued to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

AccessBus has utilised its vehicles and drivers to provide an essential service across West Yorkshire and has been delivering shopping and meals to people who are shielding or unable to leave their homes, taking patients to clinics and delivering school lunches. 

In Leeds, the team are delivering food parcels to elderly and vulnerable people on behalf of Moor Allerton Elderly Care.  They are also supporting Armley Helping Hands to distribute hot meals to residents in sheltered housing. City wide the service is also supporting the NHS by transporting individuals to essential appointments, providing over 200 round trips since 27 April.  

In Calderdale AccessBuses are being used to ship supplies from the Real Junk Food Project in Wakefield, to Incredible Edible, a group of volunteers, in Todmorden preparing cooked meals and food parcels for the elderly and vulnerable in Cornholme. The Cornholme hub provides food to around 120 families every week and has saved several tons of food from landfill.  

AccessBus is also supporting the Todmorden Market Traders Shopappy initiative by delivering groceries, which have been ordered using the app, to homes across Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.     

In Bradford, the vehicles are supporting the council’s COVID-19 support team delivering school meals and food parcels to various areas of the city and transporting supplies to foodbanks. 

All the drivers are supplied with PPE, observing social distancing regulations. Vehicles are sanitized before and after each route.  

Dawn Newsome, Chief executive of Armley Helping Hands, said:   

“We are very grateful for the support the AccessBus team have been providing to older people in the community through the pandemic. 

“From helping deliver fish and chips to distributing emergency food parcels their help has been invaluable in helping us meet the needs of our community.” 

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said:  

“When lockdown started our priority was to ensure all our service users had alternative means of getting their essential shopping whilst our service was suspended. Once that was done, we knew there was plenty we could do to continue to support our service users, partner organisations and stakeholders. 

“In normal times the service caters for some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded members of society. Thanks to the efforts of the AccessBus team and our operators the buses are still out on the road supporting those people in these difficult times.” 

Access Bus vehicles are all low-floor, easy-access minibuses fitted with the most up-to-date safety equipment. As a result of a successful bid to the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund, the Combined Authority’s fleet of 33 AccessBus vehicles have had their exhaust systems upgraded to meet Euro 6 standards, which means virtually zero emissions. 

AccessBus services were suspended in line with Government guidelines to stop unnecessary travel and as community services became available to help meet customers’ shopping needs.