Barnet Community Transport draws up plans to improve transport links to Finchley Memorial Hospital

Times Series: Marilyn Kendall, publicity and sustainability officer, and Richard Healy CEO of Barnet Community Transport with one of the charity's buses. Marilyn Kendall, publicity and sustainability officer, and Richard Healy CEO of Barnet Community Transport with one of the charity's buses.

A transport charity has come up with an idea which could solve the need for better access to Finchley Memorial Hospital.

The Times Series launched a campaign to improve access to the £28million hospital in Granville Road after receiving complaints from patients who struggle with the 440-metre walk to the nearest bus stop.

But Barnet Community Transport (BCT) has come forward with a plan which could put an end to patients’ misery.

BCT uses six buses and one MPV, which are all wheelchair-friendly, to transport community groups, families and charitable organisations to events, as well as holidays away.

Having realised there is a problem with public transport at Finchley Memorial, Richard Healy, the chief executive of BCT, has said one of the charity’s 14-seater buses could be used to help take people to and from the hospital.

He said: “There are lots of people who have mobility issues or become short of breath trying to walk from the bus stop to the hospital and it’s not right.

“If people find it difficult to attend the hospital or shy away from it because it’s hard to get to, then that will impact on people’s health.

“If Transport for London agrees, we could use their bus stops to pick up passengers who want to carry on to the hospital.”

Mr Healy has drawn up a circuit route showing where a BCT bus could stop and pick up passengers who have either travelled via TfL buses from across the borough, or live close to the stop.

The BCT bus would stop in Ballards Lane and Lambeth Way in North Finchley, Summers Lane and High Road, stopping twice at the hospital on each circuit.

Mr Healy said a proper timetable could be set-up so that passengers could plan when to catch the bus, estimating a maximum of 20 minutes wait between buses.

TfL has previously said it cannot provide one of its own buses to take people direct to the hospital because it would cause a delay to other passengers, and cost £120,000 per year.

But Mr Healy said BCT could offer their service for £75,000 per year, which would cover the vehicle’s maintenance and running costs.

BCT would need financial support to run the service including a one-year trial period, providing free transport to and from the hospital. If the trial is successful, BCT would consider charging a flat fee for the service.

John Barry, TfL's head of network development, said: "We have contacted Barnet Community Transport for more information on its proposal.”

If the plans are given the go-ahead, BCT said it could have the new route up and running within three months.

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