The Lincoln Area DialaRide (LADAR) service first began in 1985, when volunteer drivers used their own cars to carry elderly and disabled passengers in and around the centre of Lincoln.
In 1987 LADAR was officially formed and The City of Lincoln Council permanently loaned two modified London taxis that were capable of carrying wheelchairs. This was a massive boost to LADAR and the service took on real momentum. Very quickly, demand far outstripped availability and waiting lists had to be drawn up. Once again, the City of Lincoln Council came to the rescue with two more modified taxis being given on permanent loan.
During the next decade those four vehicles, in their distinctive livery, travelled hundreds of thousands of miles, carrying tens of thousands of passengers, around a radial area of 6 miles from the centre of Lincoln. A small band of volunteer drivers continued to make all of this possible.
In 1995, LADAR added a Ford Transit Minibus with a tail lift to its fleet, thanks to a hefty grant awarded by the Lincolnshire County Council. This acquisition resulted in the retirement of one of the original taxis and gave LADAR new impetus.
Experience gained from operating the minibus revealed benefits to the wheelchair passengers. They were now being carried in a safer environment, with more dignity and it was now possible to carry two wheelchair passengers at once.
In 1997, LADAR was the recipient of a £75,000.00 grant from the National Lottery Charities Board and was able to purchase another Ford Minibus and two Metrocab taxis. These acquisitions allowed the remaining ancient taxis to be retired.
In September 1998, a new generation Renault Master Minibus was purchased to join the fleet. This new acquisition, allowing the carriage of three or more wheelchairs at once, with a higher level of comfort, demonstrated the way forward.
In July 2000, one of the Metrocabs was sold to allow for the addition of a Mercedes Vito Minibus. This vehicle was specifically purchased for use on the growing market of longer distance journeys to holiday destinations.
April of 2002 saw big changes in the LADAR set up. It was provided with purpose built accommodation by the City of Lincoln Council and tasked with setting up a new Shopmobility service for the city.
On the 1st July 2014 the organisation changed its legal status, from an Industrial & Provident Society to a Private Limited Company and on the 8th December 2015 gained full charity status with the Charity Commission (Registered Charity Number 1159525).
In January 2015 a Voluntary Car Service (VCS) was launched to compliment and expand upon the existing services. The new service was designed to help even more disadvantaged members of our community gain affordable transport and is going from strength to strength.
Today, right in the centre of the transport hub of the city, LADAR and Shopmobility continue to thrive. LADAR has an eleven-vehicle fleet of minibuses partially purchased with the help of the Big Lottery Fund, The Lincolnshire Co-operative, Lottery Awards For All and through its own efforts.
Lincoln Area DialaRide is a credit to the City of Lincoln and Lincolnshire, highlighting just how the Statutory, Commercial and Voluntary Sectors can work together for the good of the community.