Godalming Mayor goes along for the ride!

Hoppa passengers were in for a surprise recently when they found themselves sharing their morning bus ride with the Mayor of Godalming, Councillor Anne Bott.

Godalming Town Council has been a long-standing supporter of the community transport service and over the past ten years, it has provided Hospital hoppa with an annual grant of £5,000.

The ride along was an opportunity for the Godalming Mayor to experience the dial a ride service and to hear from passengers about what the service means to them.

Hoppa picked up the Mayor from one of Godalming’s supermarkets, which is a popular pick up and drop off point with passengers. Steve Forward, hoppa’s general manager welcomed the Mayor aboard. He provided the Mayor with some insight into the service and explained how a fleet of 30 buses deliver three main services. The first is Hospital hoppa, which takes Godalming and Haslemere residents to and from their medical appointments, the second is the very popular dial a ride service which is used by people who do not have access to other forms of transport and the third is contract work.

Steve says: “We are very grateful to the Mayor for sparing the time to join us. It was a really useful opportunity to explain some of the complexities of the service and how it is run. Hoppa is well-known for its dial a ride service so I think the Mayor was somewhat surprised to hear that the bulk of hoppa’s work is contract transport and that this provides 80% of hoppa’s income. It is a very important strand of what we do and helps to subsidise the dial a ride service.”

During the ride along, hoppa picked up five people who had prebooked the service to take them from their home in a village near Godalming to the supermarket. Each person was personally greeted by the driver who ensured they were safely seated on the bus before pulling away.

Commenting on her hoppa experience, the Mayor of Godalming Anne Bott said: “I was privileged to be invited to join the hoppa service on one of its regular trips. Our driver Graham did not simply sit on the bus when he arrived at people’s homes, he greeted each passenger at or near their front door and ‘escorted’ them onto the bus. Graham is the regular driver and all of the ladies had nothing but praise for his courtesy, attentiveness, humour, and overall kindness. I witnessed this first hand.”

She added: “The quality of the service was indeed very impressive. The vehicle was comfortable and warm, and it was clear how important the service is to those who use it.”

After returning the Mayor to Godalming, the hoppa bus picked up and dropped off a further 12 people throughout the day.

Registering to use hoppa is simple and free and can be done online at www.hoppa.org.uk/register. Once registered, customers can book their journey by calling the registration and booking line on 01428 681701 from Monday to Friday 8.30am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm.

During the ride along, hoppa picked up five people who had prebooked the service to take them from their home in a village near Godalming to the supermarket. Each person was personally greeted by the driver who ensured they were safely seated on the bus before pulling away.

Commenting on her hoppa experience, the Mayor of Godalming Anne Bott said: “I was privileged to be invited to join the hoppa service on one of its regular trips. Our driver Graham did not simply sit on the bus when he arrived at people’s homes, he greeted each passenger at or near their front door and ‘escorted’ them onto the bus. Graham is the regular driver and all of the ladies had nothing but praise for his courtesy, attentiveness, humour, and overall kindness. I witnessed this first hand.”

She added: “The quality of the service was indeed very impressive. The vehicle was comfortable and warm, and it was clear how important the service is to those who use it.”

After returning the Mayor to Godalming, the hoppa bus picked up and dropped off a further 12 people throughout the day.

Registering to use hoppa is simple and free and can be done online at www.hoppa.org.uk/register. Once registered, customers can book their journey by calling the registration and booking line on 01428 681701 from Monday to Friday 8.30am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm.

Caption:  Hoppa passengers with the Mayor of Godalming, Councillor Anne Bott, Steve Forward (behind) and driver Graham Ford, right.