About Community Transport
Definition of Community Transport
Community Transport generally means transport which is designed, specified and developed by the communities it services, and which is provided on a not-for-profit basis in direct response to the identified needs of those communities.
What is Community Transport?
Community Transport (CT) is the provision of non-profit making transport for members of the community who do not have access to conventional public transport services for their travel needs due to availability, accessibility, affordability or safety and security concerns.
CT tackles this problem by involving local people in the identification of transport needs within their community and devising solutions. CT Groups have Voluntary Management Committees made up of local residents. Local residents also assist in the provision of the transport service through volunteering as drivers, passenger assistans and other roles.
As well as continuing to use volunteers some CT Operators employ paid professional staff. All drivers, including volunteers, receive training to the national MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) standard, which helps them to develop improved driving and passenger assistant skills.
A wide array of services can be described as CT, ranging from Community Car Schemes, Minibus Operation for Group use to Door to Door Service on demand and partnership working between the voluntary and stautory sectors and local private operators. CT services are focused on individual needs, people with disabilities can travel on the minibuses as easily as anyone else; older people can make use of social cars for an important appointment.
The Community Transport Difference
Community transport services provide access for many sections of the community to essential services, social and everyday activities. The service is designed particularly to address the needs of those who have a disability, are less mobile, socially isolated or experience barriers in using public transport.
What’s so special about Community Transport?
Community transport focuses on innovative solutions to community needs – as local community based organisations.
Community transport combats social exclusion through the services it provides. This is achieved by providing safe, accessible and affordable transport solutions for local communities and enables people to access:
- Social and Leisure Activities;
- Fresh Food;
- Health and Social Care; and
Transport, though a major element of the work, is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. CT is first and foremost about people and their needs, not transport.
Underlying Principles of Community Transport
Community Transport Operators (CTO) have a number of distinct attributes which separate them from other transport operators. These are:
- CTO’s are Social Enterprises, providing safe, accessible and affordable transport solutions to their local communities.
- CTO’s are community-owned and managed by voluntary committees elected by and from local people.
- Services are developed and delivered by the community for the community.
- The majority of the drivers are volunteers.
- CTO’s are not-for-profit and any financial surpluses are re-applied to the enterprise, never distributed to shareholders or directors.
The impact of Community Transport
A recent survey of the Community Transport Sector in the West of Scotland, carried out as part of the Public Social Partnership project, mapped the geographical spread, capability and capacity of CTO’s. The report produced as a result of this survey highlights the significance of the sector. Some of the headline results are;
- 63 Community Transport Organisations have been identified in the west of Scotland.
- An estimated annual turnover of at least £7 million with 17 organisations with an annual turnover of more than £150k.
- At least 1,100 volunteer drivers and 3,500 other support volunteers.
- At least 20,000 volunteer driver hours per annum at a cost value of at least £220k per annum based on the minimum wage.
- Over 1,000 vehicles being used, including over 200 minibuses and over 700 volunteer cars.
- At a minimum, 600,000 passenger journeys and 1.4 million fleet miles per annum.