What We’ve Learnt About Community Transport Over the Last Two Years
Amazingly, Road XS has now been around for over two years, since Autumn 2016. On reflection, we realised what an incredible amount we have learnt already about the value of community transport and the benefits it brings across the country. Time may have gone quickly, but it’s astonishing how far the software has come in such a short space of time! On the surface, the project looked simple enough from the start – an online booking system to get people from A to B. What could be harder? Well, that was actually pretty easy. What became increasingly apparent however was just how complex community transport gets when you factor in all the variables such as multiple pickup times, vehicle variance, differing passenger needs, journey differences, ad-hoc trips, group bookings, different finance models, varying journey distances, various client requirements, complex reporting to assist with funding….I could go on, because it does go on.
Community transport is not simple, despite how it seems on the surface. But we made it our job to take all the complex processes and make community transport providers lives a breeze just by clicking a few buttons. We’re glad we did. Here’s just a few of the things we have learnt in the last two years about community transport.
One of our providers, just one year on from using Road XS, saw their journey demand increase 107% compared to the previous year. Astonishingly, they now deliver a smoother service with less volunteers than they had before and have been able to build new services off the back of their transport services to better serve their community. Road XS has also supported them in achieving much needed funding to continue their services by proving quantatitive information on how the funds were used to streamline services for the community. The features of Road XS have played a huge part in growing the services and allowing them to expand organically. The best part too, is that the additional funding is to support the increased demand, not to keep them afloat! This is the second thing we’ve learnt, those who work and volunteer in community transport work hard for their communities for little to no recognition!
The third thing we have learnt is that no matter what we read, demand for community transport services is increasing and demand will continue to increase. This means community transport providers need to consider looking at sustainable finance models for the short term yes, but also for the longterm. This is partly why we developed the Road XS Cloud Refresh programme to ensure the software continues to get better over time and evolve with transport providers as they meet differring and increasing demand. The UK is an aging population and in order to keep societies and families functioning, people need transport.
We often take transport for granted and we have noticed in the rural areas bus routes are being cut, which is cutting off people from seeing loved ones, socialising and maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The fourth thing we have learnt is that without community transport services some individuals will experience increased mental health issues, anxiety and ill-health. It’s important communities realise the value of their volunteer drivers and the valuable service they provide. If anything, more should be done to promote the amazing work of not just volunteer drivers but also volunteers across the country. Before we started Road XS, we had no idea how valuable community transport services are for getting people to medical appointments and social activities. The services really keep communities together.
We have also noticed (certainly in our area), that traffic is increasing considerably. The fifth thing we have learnt is that technology built the right way, really can make a difference. Road XS has come a long way from being a simple bookng cloud based platform in version 100. We are now working within Road XS at solving some really complex societal issues such as how to decrease local traffic and how to better allocate resources for providers. We are also developing systems to help get people to work more efficiently and reducing the carbon footprint of drivers in general. It’s amazing what good technology can do despite the recent bad press.
We have also learnt that we must continue, to continue, making Road XS better and better. There has been no shortage of feedback from the Road XS community of how we can improve the software and we are incredibly grateful for this feedback. We like hearing from the community as they are the ones who use Road XS day in day out. Working together with community transport for the benefit of all is something we thought would never take off and we are so grateful that we have a long list of software improvements that we continually release to ensure our customers and clients work smarter not harder and can deliver transport services long into the future for the benefit of all who need them.
We’re really excited about where Road XS is heading to next and we’ll keep on learning about how we can better serve you. We can’t wait to keep you updated.
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