What is community transport?
There are hundreds of community transport (CT) projects operating successfully around the country. They provide a range of transport services that meet a social purpose and provide community benefits. Typically CT projects:
- help people to stay independent, participate in their communities and access vital services and employment;
- use and adapt conventional vehicles for social purposes /community benefit to support individual health and wellbeing and enable affordable social activities
- provide voluntary car schemes, community bus services, school transport, hospital transport, dial-a-ride, wheels to work and group hire services;
- rely entirely on volunteers to drive accessible vehicles, and provide management and governance;
- respond to unmet transport and social needs identified by and within a community;
- give priority to the mobility of the most vulnerable and isolated - typically those whose needs are unmet by conventional bus services.
Crucially, CT projects are licenced by the DVLA to operate vehicles on a strictly not-for-profit basis. This is essential and necessary to comply with a 1985 Transport Act Section 19 Permit. This permit differentiates CT schemes, from all commercial operators of public service vehicles.
Wealden Wheels: a case study
Wealden Wheels (established in 2004) is a well established local example which serves the parishes of Charing, Chilham, Egerton, Pluckley and Smarden.
Wealden Wheels is a community led not-for-profit transport company. The initiative is supported financially by Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council and by the Parish Councils of Charing, Chilham, Egerton, Pluckley and Smarden.
'Community transport is about freedom and fairness of opportunity. It meets the needs of people who do not have access to cars, taxis or buses, and provides a lifeline in both rural and urban areas. It takes disabled people to work, children to school, sick people to healthcare and older people to the shops. It runs local bus routes and provides transport for a wide range of clubs, voluntary bodies and care homes. People shape the services they want and community transport makes it happen.' Wealden Wheels