Maidenhead shopmobility user numbers still 'quite down', meeting hears

The chief executive of People to Places has said that shopmobility user numbers in Maidenhead are still ‘quite down’ compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The shopmobility service, run by People to Places, allows people to hire mobility equipment, including scooters, powered chairs, powered strollers, manual wheelchairs, and walking frames from its bases in both Maidenhead and Windsor town centres.

People can either hire equipment for the day or for an extended period.

Speaking at a Maidenhead Town Forum meeting on Thursday, May 12, Peter Haley said the numbers of hires have dropped ‘substantially’ due to the pandemic.

He explained that an adapted service was still running during the pandemic for people to use.

“As the lockdown has eased, numbers have crept back, but its fair to say that right now, Maidenhead is still only tracking about two-thirds of the pre-pandemic level of a long-term trend.

“So, it’s still quite down really compared to what it has been”, Peter said.

Peter explained that in the long term the service was running at about 6,000 scooter hires a year from Maidenhead- amounting to about 19 hires a day.

He added: “But we’ve plateaued at around about 3,500-4,000 at the moment and in fact, if anything, I think that plateau is ever so slightly beginning to dip as well.”

Peter added the organisation is now looking to further promote the service, including contacting hotels in the area and talking to them about offering a mobility service, and supporting local events through its show mobility service.

During his presentation, Peter explained that he had not heard anything official from the regeneration team about what is happening with the service, which is based in the Nicholsons Centre car park, moving to other accommodation during the works.

He said: “One of the big issues is we are led to believe that we will be moving to temporary accommodation when the Nicholsons Centre car park is knocked down at some point.”

But he explained that he hasn’t has ‘much of an update for some time now’.

Cllr Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary’s) commented that he was concerned that the service’s accommodation had not been clarified yet and asked if this could be brought back to the next meeting or sent to cabinet so a proposal could be put together for some accommodation for the service.

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