Following a successful Community Transport Week, we asked Kevwe Oghide from the Community Transport Association to explain the impact of their work for rural areas:
Community Transport services in the UK encompass a diverse range of vital transport options, playing a crucial role in enhancing mobility and inclusivity within the wider transport network.
These services utilise various vehicles, ranging from minibuses to mopeds, and include a variety of essential offerings such as voluntary car schemes, community bus services, school transport, hospital transport, dial-a-ride, wheels-to-work, and group hire services.
The importance of these Community Transport services cannot be overstated as they address the transport needs of diverse groups, including the elderly, disabled individuals, children, and those living in rural or isolated areas. By bridging these accessibility gaps, community transport services promote social inclusion, provide access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities, and reduce carbon footprint through shared transport options.
Here are some ways Community Transport (CT) services are crucial:
- They promote inclusion: CT services ensure inclusivity by catering to a broad spectrum of passengers, including individuals who may have limited mobility, students requiring school transport, patients seeking access to healthcare facilities, and those who lack personal vehicle means.
- They are demand-responsive: Many CT services are demand-responsive, allowing passengers to be picked up and dropped off at their doorstep, ensuring convenient and personalised travel experiences. Moreover, an increasing number of these services have evolved to include scheduled routes, addressing transport gaps in areas where conventional bus services are limited or absent.
- They complement conventional transport: Importantly, CT services fill gaps in the existing transport, infrastructure. They operate in areas where commercial bus services may not be available or may not be able to meet specific needs. As such, they ensure that transport remains accessible to all, regardless of location or personal circumstances.
- They are sustainable and efficient: CT services often use efficient, eco-friendly vehicles, contributing to environmental sustainability. Furthermore, CT services are usually operated by local volunteers and organizations, fostering a sense of community and strengthening social bonds.
In essence, community transport services are a vital and often underappreciated component of the UK’s transport network, offering a lifeline to those who may otherwise face barriers to mobility. CTA continues to promote the incredible work of the sector by increasing public awareness, showcasing Community Transport’s impact in order to attract funding for the sector and working with transport authorities across the UK to amplify the role of the sector in enriching the UK’s transport landscape.
By Kevwe Oghide
MarComms Manager, Community Transport Association (CTA)
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