THE new community transport initiative linking Malvern residents to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch is finally up and running.
However, it is likely to prove expensive for local residents with charges estimated at around £50 for a return trip.
The hopper bus service between Worcestershire Royal and the Alex it replaces was free while a bus ticket on the 150 is £3.50 or £5.10 return.
But a taxi service could easily be well over £40 one way.
Nevertheless the volunteer-run service, Community Transport Connections, offers people with no access to a car or who have difficulty using other forms of transports to get to their appointments on time and visit loved ones at their convenience.
Under plans approved by the county’s doctors, the Royal has become a centre for trauma and major incidents while the Alex will handle more cases of planned surgery.
That means local residents may have to travel to Redditch for appointments and possibly surgery, as will their loved ones to visit them.
The service is designed to help those without their own transport by providing a door to door service.
The system is run through a hub-based a Droitwich.
Callers dial a freephone number where they are put through to a central office.
They are then given a reference and either asked to ring their local service to arrange their lift.
If they are reluctant or unable to do so, the office will do it for them.
The service is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and they ask for a minimum of 48 hours notice and is backed by county health care providers and Worcestershire County Council.
To book a journey, call 0300 323 9965.