Volunteer drivers are the backbone of community transport. Everyday up and down the country volunteers are giving their time to assist in getting passenger to medical appointments, events and more. Without them we would see increased social isolation and loneliness across the UK. They are vital to the success of community transport services.
Community transport car schemes driver and car schemes directly tackle social isolation, loneliness and reduce anxiety amongst many of their passengers. They also enable passengers who otherwise would not be able to, to attend medical appointments, go shopping, and meet family and friends on a regular basis.
Volunteer drivers use their own vehicle, and provide their own time for the journey and a community transport scheme will pay them 45p a mile (depending on how the scheme runs). During the journey the drivers very often provide support and friendship to the passenger at a time when they need it most. Whilst a lot of focus with community transport is placed on the passenger, the volunteer driver also benefits by becoming actively engaged in their local community, providing a vital service.
Across the country, and certainly at Road XS, we are seeing demand for these types of services rise considerably! One such service we support is Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire. They are often coming up with new initiatives to support their local community and working with us we are able to provide a more streamlined service to better support them.
Although right now Cherwell District Council provide funding and support the service, there are no guarantees that the service could continue from April 2022. This is always a worry for community transport services. It’s why at Road XS, we provide the technology to community transport services to enable them to scale their services so that costs can be absorbed without increasing overheads to meet demand. In working smarter and doing more with less, you can get more from your volunteer drivers, and they get to become more actively involved in the local community, but only if they want to. However, you can also look at initiatives and North Oxfordshire have a good one which not only helps their passengers but local businesses too!
One initiative they run, is attracting sponsorships from local businesses. Keith Davies from quiz company Quizpacks is one of the people who sponsor the service. He said “I can get my company logo on a vehicle travelling across Cherwell for just £100 a year!”
Andrea Cawley from Barking Mad Banbury, which is a dog home boarding business, is also one of their sponsors. She said:
“We’re so thrilled to now be a part of the wonderful Volunteer Driver Service. As well as helping people get out and about in their local community, we get our Barking Mad Banbury Home Dog Boarding message out there year-round and for a fraction of normal advertising costs. It’s a win-win-win.”
We love hearing about initiatives just like this and what better way than to support a local transport service and provide a vital service at the same time. It also helps reduce any increased costs onto the passengers too.
We often get asked how Road XS can enable services to do more with less and really a lot of it comes down to our technology and features such as the driver portal.
The Road XS driver portal enables any volunteer driver to login from home and see local journeys which are in demand from passengers within their local radius. They can then pick and choose which journeys they wish to do as well as set their availability and maintain all their own records. All of this they can do in the comfort of their own homes and at a time convenient to them. This reduces the admin work from the main office and means the volunteer drivers are kept better informed and in the loop and don’t need to keep going back and forth to the office unless they really need to. We also provide technology to find the nearest available driver who’s records are up to date and can take the journey which saves transport management teams hours of time and needless phonecalls.
For services which are in demand and are looking to do more with less, Road XS is the perfect partner. I you would like to look at ways you could grow your volunteer driver pool, then why not have a read of our ‘Ultimate Guide to Increasing Your Volunteer Drivers’ here or have a listen to our podcast.
Here’s a bit more information if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer driver:
What is a Volunteer Driver?
A volunteer driver is someone who volunteers their time and drives passengers in their local community to and from medical appointments, events, social occasions and more. The community transport scheme will likely pay them 45p a mile although this might change from services to service.
Can I Become a Volunteer Driver?
Yes! If you have an active drivers licence and a vehicle which can legally drive on the road then you could become a volunteer driver. Again, depending on the type of service they provide, you may also require a DBS check although that can be discussed when you meet your community transport service provider.
How Do I Get Started?
To get started, simply find out about any local community transport scheme which is running in your area and give them a call – they will love to hear from you! You can find them online or from local service providers. Your local GP service may have more information about them too.