We totally repudiate the allegations and insinuations made by Castle Point chief executive David Marchant about our provision of community transport services (Letters, December 8).

Mr Marchant states: “The funding has not been cut and the only difference the community will notice will be an increase in the quality of service”.

Unfortunately this is quite false as the withdrawal of funding for one driver will mean the service is effectively halved.

The council’s strategic planning director, Roby Smith, claims the minibuses are “old and inefficient and often run half empty”.

Should a club which only has a few members in need of transport be denied because the bus is half empty? Of course not.

We carried in excess of 15,000 passengers last year (around 300 per week) and all of the clubs we service have shown their complete satisfaction with how we deal with them and manage their needs.

We also receive many requests for additional journeys such as shopping trips for residential homes, theatre outings and other social trips, sometimes out of normal working hours, which we always endeavour to fulfill.

The service we operate is under a signed partnership agreement. In this, Castle Point Council undertakes to provide two drivers and one minibus. No such vehicle has been made available to us by the council, its only contribution being the payment of diesel costs which is charged against the contracted funding to us.

We have offered to go to mediation or arbitration as set out in the partnership agreement, but to date the council has not accepted this as a correct way of resolving our dispute.

Rex G Palmer
Director, Castle Point Social Car Scheme
Seamore Avenue