A new council working group is set to look at options for re-instating a ‘Dial and Ride-type service’ in York.

The ‘task and finish’ group, which is expected to be set up by the city council’s economy, place, access and transport scrutiny committee which meets next week, will be asked to produce a draft report by early March.

It’s remit will be to ‘better understand’ what happened with the Dial and Ride service that was previously operated by charity York Wheels, speak to York people who used the dial and ride to establish whether there is a need for a replacement service, and then come up with some costed options.

Members of the working group will also be tasked with looking at similar schemes provided in cities comparable to York.

York Wheels confirmed in a shock announcement in December that its popular door-to-door bus service for elderly or disabled passengers who had no other means of getting about would come to an end on December 31.

The charity's chair of trustees Rob Atkinson said at the time that it was a decision that had been taken with 'deep regret'.

But he added: "The Dial and Ride service has become unsustainable in recent months.

“Put simply, we have reached the point at which as a result of problems with maintenance and third-party suppliers, our fleet is not up to the standards required to maintain the quality or reliability of the service."

The decision came as a particular shock because it was less than a year since York Wheels had bought two new Dial and Ride buses, with the help of a £190,000 city council grant.

There is no mention of that grant in the new task and finish group’s brief.

But a key part of the council group’s remit will be to ‘meet with representatives from York Wheels to better understand the issues that led to them withdrawing the Dial and Ride service’ and to ‘request relevant documentation in order to better understand the cost and specification of the Dial and Ride service commissioned from York Wheels’.

The Dial and Ride was described as 'the bus service which takes over where public transport stops.. for York residents who are elderly or disabled' and a 'door-to-door service taking you from home to major supermarkets, shopping centres and York city centre'. It was used by about 30 people every day.

The ending of the service was greeted with dismay by members of York’s disabled community. York disability rights activist Flick Williams said it was ‘devastating’.

Former York Green councillor and city transport boss Andy D’Agorne, who pleaded with the council to save the dial and ride service before it closed, today welcomed the new working group.

“It is urgent that we look at re-providing at least a basic service that is flexible enough for people who were using it (dial and ride) before,” he said.

The remit of the new working group will be finalised at the council’s economy, place, access and transport scrutiny committee which meets at 5.30pm next Tuesday (February 27).