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Our history

Bristol Dial-a-Ride

Social Access started in 1988 as Bristol Dial-a-Ride, a volunteer run Industrial and Provident Society with just one accessible minibus based in Bedminster and funded by Bristol City Council. The organisation expanded over the years as funding became available with minibuses purchased for each area of Bristol and by 2005, the Dial-a-Ride service was Citywide and in high demand.

Since then, the organisation and vehicle fleet has grown and developed to offer multiple services to our members but continues to keep to the same goal as in 1988 - that disabled people should have access to high quality, accessible transport services.

A Change of Name

Rebranded as Social Access in 2012 with transition funding from the Big Lottery (this website is just one area where they provided funding and support) to better reflect the organisation's development as a 'Social Enterprise' working towards sustainability, the new brand has helped to change the common public perception that Dial-a-Ride services are only available to 'older people' and provided an umbrella for us to expand the range of services we deliver.

Social Access Today

Today, we continue to work in partnership with Bristol City Council and have expanded our operations to deliver the citywide Dial-a-Ride and DART Shopper services and travel across the South West with our Personal Car and Excursions service.   

The addition of our Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Service operated by Social Access Enterprises, our trading subsidiary, has ensured our vehicles are well maintained and experience as little down-time as possible so that more people can travel.

Our service hours are 7am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday.

We have a large fleet of fully accessible minibuses and cars to deliver our services all of which are equipped with wheelchair and mobility aid restraint systems to ensure our members can travel safely.

All trading income (after operating costs) from Social Access Enterprises is gift aided to Social Access, the Charity at the end of each financial year.