A trip to see the wonders of London at Christmas is one of Westway CT’s calander highlights offering people who live in London but can’t access the city due to health or mobility issues, a chance to see London at one of the most magical times of the year.
Westway’s London Christmas lights trip is always a sell out, and the two scheduled day trips sold out swiftly and a third trip was added due to popular demand.
The trips were made extra special by volunteer driver Tim Sai Louie. Tim has volunteered with us since 2020 and regularly drives for our Volunteer Car Scheme, which gives him the chance to speak to our users on the other journeys they make with us throughout the year, from shopping and GP appointments to meeting family and friends, they told him how much they were looking forward to the Christmas trips.
Volunteers make it possible
With Tim’s help the Christmas Lights visits were a great success. These day-long trips (six hours) require detailed planning to overcome the challenges of safely transporting lots of older people with mobility issues from their various pick-up and drop-off points. We ensured that extra time was built in to coordinate collecting everyone from their homes, and added a stop at Peter Jones for hot chocolate, and a comfort break before heading back. The route needs to be flexible to combat London’s traffic conditions, which can make it a challenge, and often changes are made to the route at the last minute. It’s also important to make sure there are enough stops for passengers to stretch their legs.
Tim was an absolute star and helped us plan different routes and stops, his experience with us meant he was great at thinking on his feet and able to respond to ever-changing scenarios, swapping the West End for Knightsbridge and Harrods to avoid road closures while at the same time giving a narrative on the various historic buildings we drove past.
The trips are always a success, enabling our users to be part of the Christmas atmosphere, seeing the London lights and sights, and feeling the growing excitement of Christmas shopping in bustling department stores, as well as experiencing the atmospheric Christmas markets here and there as they absorb the festive feeling without being caught up in the crowds.
Anna Porta, Development Manager at Westway CT said;
“Our users find it hard or impossible to use public transport due to various health reasons so if it wasn’t for these trips, they would have to rely on the television to experience what London has to offer at this time of the year.”
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