What is community transport? is something that many people ask us. Often, people have never heard about it unless a member of family has been unable to travel or indeed themselves is in need of such a service. We often call people who are involved in community transport services the secret army of Britain. This is because we firmly believe that if community transport were to close, communities in the United Kingdom and indeed around the world would ground to a halt. We would also see an increase in social isolation and a loss of independence for many.
Community transport covers a broad range of transport services. Typically, it is a transport service provided by charities and voluntary organisations, although as the demands in local communities have grown it has also developed into a more commercialised model too. The types of transport that provide the localised services are most often made up of:
- Dial a Ride
- Community car schemes
- Accessible minibus transport
- Group travel
- Hospital and medical transport
- Mobility hire schemes
Generally, these services can be used by anyone of any age who does not have their own transport and cannot use or access public transport services easily. You will generally find that the older generation utilise the service most along with those with disabilities, but the younger generations also use it to help get to schools and in rural areas to assist with deliveries, shopping trips and social inclusion such as attending clubs and societies to keep people active and engaged.
To give you an idea of how often community transport is used by communities, in 2013/2014 there were over 15 million transport passenger trips by over 2000 community transport organised in England alone. Today, that figure is much higher, although due to the variety of systems used, there is no fixed figure. This is why the Government continue support community transport services as they perform a vitlal role in society.
How Does it Help Communities?
Imagine a community where only the able could attend, society would slowly grind to a halt. We all have a role to play in our community and in embracing everyone and working together to help one another we build stronger communities together.
Community transport is at the centre of that mission. Anyone of any age can help, if you have a car, you can be a volunteer driver simply by picking someone up on your way to work and dropping them off where they need to be, which might even be on your route! This one task could go a long way in helping make someone’s day or even week and save money which would otherwise mean someone becomes isolated from society.
Vehicles used include people’s cars, minibuses and in some instances even mopeds (although this is rare!). Generally transport routes are ad hoc demand responsive, but there is a growing demand for fixed routes to replace local bus services which have closed due to public transport cuts. Believe it or not, as community transport services are run for the local community they operate for social purposes and are not for profit. This model provides one of the widest and most reliable method of ensuring transport services operate year in year out.
Community transport provides an ideal localised transport solution to meet the needs of the local community in which they operate. By providing local knowledge based services, community transport can be provided operated in a friendly and personalised way to meet the varying needs of the community members. The benefits of the service reach far beyond just the journey itself, and provide greater all round inclusion for the passengers travelling on the service.
How Road XS Supports Community Transport
At Road XS we have supported community transport services for many years and provide the leading community transport software. We have developed a transport software which enables our costs to be easily absorbed by transport providers so that they can maintain their services with the best technology available without the usual high costs associated with custom software development. This enables community transport providers to not only save costs, but to provide a better, more friendly service for more and more passengers without increasing their overheads. This has revolutionised the way community transport providers can organise their trips and support the passengers and driver in their community, even whilst working from home. It also allows drivers to pick and choose when they can drive without being disrupted whilst enjoying other areas of their life.
Our community transport software finds the nearest available volunteer drivers to ensure passengers are not paying for any mileage more than they have to. This saves considerable costs for the passenger if they use the services a lot. Also, in saving one mile per trip the costs of Road XS is covered! We are also the only software which automatically schedules the dial a ride pickup and drop off scheduling. All other software platforms rely on the operator guessing the rough times it will take to get to places, but Road XS integrates with Google maps to perform every estimate and leg of the route whilst taking into account the passenger’s maximum transit time and other factors. This is the power and technology which Road XS brings to providers saving time, but also enabling transport service providers to grow their services without additional effort.
Thanks to the types of transport services outlined in this article, thousands of people across the UK and beyond continue to be able to engage in society and attend medical appointments which they otherwise would not be able to attend.