the south ayrshire hospital transport service was part of the government's programme of rural transport experiments (rutex). it was a voluntary car scheme designed to take patients and visitors from the villages of crosshill, kirkmichael and straiton to hospitals and other medical facilities in ayr and further afield. it was run by volunteer organisers, who made arrangements for people (who could not conveniently travel by bus) to be taken by one of a pool of volunteer drivers. the drivers were private motorists, who were paid an allowance of 8p per mile; passengers paid fares to the organisers. during the experimental period (10 july 1978-30 june 1979) the service provided 33 single and 33 return trips. most of the passengers were elderly, and few had access to private transport. although the scheme catered for only a small minority of hospital trips in the area, it was appreciated as a valuable aid to those who used it. the total cost of the service was 90, about one-third of which was recovered from fares. such schemes, where they can be organised, appear to be the most economical way of catering for the low, sporadic demand for hospital trips in rural areas.(a)

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