Hoppa community transport passengers were greeted by a special guest as they arrived in Godalming for a morning’s shopping recently. The MP for South West Surrey, Jeremy Hunt boarded the hoppa bus and met four passengers who regularly use the dial-a-ride service.
Local MP was visiting hoppa to see for himself how important the service is in supporting the wellbeing and health of its 3,800 registered customers. Hoppa is a not-for-profit organisation which provides door to door and scheduled services to residents of Waverley. All of its buses are wheelchair accessible.
"It’s clear that hoppa’s customers greatly value the service and that it plays an important role in preventing vulnerable people, particularly older people, from becoming isolated. The passengers I spoke to all agreed on how it enhances their quality of life," said Mr Hunt. "Over the next five years, the country’s population of over 75s is projected to grow by one million so services like hoppa will become ever more important. It would be good to see more local people making use of hoppa and benefitting from what’s clearly a great asset to the community.”
Jeremy spent time chatting with the hoppa passengers who explained how travelling locally between towns and villages can be difficult and prohibitively expensive for people without a car or for those who cannot access public transport.
One customer explained how local residents travelling across the borough could face a taxi bill of £70 or lengthy journeys by bus and train to get to hospital appointments in Guildford were it not for the hospital hoppa service.
Speaking after the visit, general manager Steve Forward said: "Our customers tell us that the service we offer to them is vital: we provide an affordable, convenient, safe and comfortable service to take them to the shops, to hospital appointments, to see friends and take part in social activities - the journeys that many of us take for granted.”
He continued: “Mr Hunt was very interested to hear about how our service works and how important our funding is for maintaining the service – particularly hospital hoppa. I think it was really useful for him to hear from the people using the service about what a difference it makes to their lives.”