Bus ser­vice to the res­cue

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Emma Geary

TEAM­WORK and per­se­ver­ance were key in­gre­di­ents that helped Richard Foo and his friend Gavin Sharpe suc­cess­fully launch a bus ser­vice to trans­port peo­ple with spe­cial needs to work.

The im­pe­tus for the new bus ser­vice was Mr Foo’s men­tally im­paired brother Chick Foo (61), who lives in Lang­ford with his el­derly fa­ther.

Burswood res­i­dent Richard said his brother was em­ployed by not-for­profit dis­abil­ity ser­vice provider Ac­tiv Foun­da­tion.

Due to fund­ing changes brought about by the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme, last year Ac­tiv told fam­i­lies with rel­a­tives em­ployed by the ser­vice that it was ceas­ing its trans­port ser­vice from July 1, 2017.

Mr Foo said fam­i­lies were asked to con­sider other means of trans­port­ing rel­a­tives em­ployed in Ac­tiv work­shops, in­clud­ing car­pool­ing, public trans­port and taxis.

The op­tions put for­ward were not fea­si­ble for many fam­i­lies, he said, par­tic­u­larly due to work com­mit­ments or age­ing guardians and car­ers who didn’t drive.

Ear­lier this year, Mr Foo came up with a plan of putting on a sin­gle bus to help his brother and other Ac­tiv em­ploy­ees liv­ing close by get to work. Word got out and other fam­i­lies in­volved with Ac­tiv wanted to get on­board, he said.

“The phone calls came in thick and fast and I had to call in a friend to help,” he said.

It was then he con­tacted friend Mr Sharpe and the duo set about mak­ing the bus ser­vice idea a re­al­ity.

Mr Foo said they con­tacted the Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices Com­mis­sion and ob­tained fund­ing for the ser­vice.

This week, Hori­zons West started the new bus ser­vice trans­port­ing Ac­tiv clients be­tween their homes and work­shops.

“If they hadn’t come on board, it would have been al­most an im­pos­si­ble task to get buses up and run­ning,” Mr Foo said.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Mr Foo or Mr Sharpe at info@ flyck.com.au. Hori­zons West man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Greg Balla said four bus routes had been es­tab­lished to trans­port Ac­tiv clients from as far south as Suc­cess to other south­ern Perth sub­urbs in­clud­ing East Vic­to­ria Park, Palmyra, Ar­madale and Au­bin Grove.

“We were ap­proached by Gavin and Richard to help,” Mr Balla said. “There was a real need to help these peo­ple get to work.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470809

Richard Foo and brother Chick.

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