Community transport matters, but unfortunately for many they don’t hear about community transport until they need it themselves or a family member does.
It remains a vital transport service for people up and down the country. Transport is also often pushed down the priority list, certainly by government behind housing, the NHS and social care. The problem though, is that transport really is the invisible thread that ties us all together. Without it, we go nowhere.
Nothing better illustrates the importance of community transport than from the people who use the services.
Imagine a world where all of a sudden you freedoms are taken away from you. You can no longer visit your friends. You can no longer visit your family. You can no longer even go shopping. Sounds like a lockdown, but this is how life can feel for those every day who need and rely upon community transport.
Without the service they are cut off from society and become disconnected and isolated. Life stops. If it wasn’t for volunteers, then life for people like Betty would be very different indeed.
How Community Transport Changes Lives: Betty’s Story
Betty is 90 years young.
Despite her age, life has not slowed her down. She remains as active as ever, but life changed for her last year in March 2019.
Following a routine appointment at her opticians, Betty was informed that her eyesight had deteriorated so much that it was no longer safe for her to drive. Whilst this did not come as a surprise, she didn’t realize how different her life would become once she was forced to stop driving.
Betty thought she would just take the bus once a week into Stratford-Upon-Avon to do her shopping.
Unfortunately though, at certain times, she found it too crowded, noisy and it left her with a sense of vulnerability she had never felt before.
The bus stop was also a long way from where Betty needed to be which meant a long walk. Whilst the journeys she took were always safe, she struggled to carry her shopping and the flowers for her weekly display in her local church.
Her shopping trips that were once easy and enjoyable when she could drive, had become difficult and frightening, especially when people bumped into her when she was carrying her shopping.
One Sunday at church, Betty spoke with a friend about the problems she’d been having. Her friend told her about a local community transport service she used. With nothing to lose Betty gave them a call.
She discovered that she was a perfect fit for the service. After providing some information and consent to process her personal information, she was officially able to begin using the service. Betty informed the provider of her trip requirements for the following Thursday and was informed that she would receive a call back from them within 24 hours.
To reduce Betty’s cost, the transport provider was able to use Road XS transport software to find her the nearest available driver.
This meant that Betty saved money because the volunteer driver didn’t have to travel any further than they needed to. They were also local to Betty so knew the area well. The driver’s records were also all up to date which included their DBS, MOT and driving license, otherwise they would not be able to be selected for the journey.
The following Thursday, Betty travelled for the first time on the service for her weekly shop.
Not only did she feel safe, but she was able to talk to the driver who was kind and helpful. He even assisted her in carrying her shopping to and from the car.
Later that week at church, Betty thanked her friend. They decided to both arrange a shopping trip together using the service. This meant that Betty could then share the mileage cost with her friend – saving her further money.
Today, Betty travels more than once a week using her local community transport service.
Whilst the service costs slightly more than her local bus service, the friendship and security Betty feels far exceeds the higher cost. It works out cheaper than a commercial taxi service which would become unaffordable and means she remains active in her local community just like she used to and it takes her door-to-door.
Why Community Transport Matters
As you can see, community transport changes lives.
A common trend we see at Road XS for community car scheme providers, is that there are more passengers than volunteer drivers. This means that transport providers see increased demand for services and not enough drivers to fulfil the demand and have to turn journeys down.
One solution is to attract more volunteer drivers. But this is not as easy as you might think, especially when you consider most people haven’t heard about community transport until they actually need it.
This is where the value of Road XS lies.
Our technology bridges the gap. Not only do we find the nearest available driver for the passenger, but we also enable providers to get more from their existing drivers.
We do this by making the lives of existing volunteer drivers easier and by removing a lot of the work usually required by the transport team. You end up working as a closer team, are able to fully understand the passenger needs and we ensure the right vehicle, at the right time, for the right price shows up for each and every passenger. This ensures you provide the most friendly service possible.
Whilst most transport software out there focuses on the vehicles, our focus has always been on the passenger – passengers just like Betty.
To find out more about Road XS and how it is used by charities, local authorities and commercial businesses, feel free to contact us.
We’d be happy to talk to you about any issues you’re facing and how we would be able to help you. You can also find out about some use cases for how Road XS transport software is used here too.