Rail and community transport toolkit
What is community transport?
Community transport is about providing flexible and accessible community-led solutions, on a not-for-profit basis, in response to unmet local transport needs. It may be the only means of transport for many vulnerable and isolated people, often those who are older or have disabilities. This can involve using everything from minibuses to mopeds, typical services include voluntary car schemes, community bus services, school transport, hospital transport, dial a ride, wheels to work and group hire services.
Many are demand responsive, taking people from door to door, but a growing number are scheduled services along fixed routes where conventional bus services are not available. It enables older people with limited mobility to leave their house and meet friends and family; it helps people with disabilities to lead independent lives; and supports children and young people to reach school, college or work, and to socialise.
Community transport puts the community at the heart of all it does, taking a ground-up approach to transport solutions that work for everyone. Services offer so much more than just a journey, empowering people by opening up opportunities for those who would otherwise be excluded. The sector’s community led approach means operators can offer outstanding value for money with bespoke, localised services.
Opportunities for rail and Community Transport operators to work together
Rail and community transport are both inclusive, sociable and sustainable forms of travel. Both Government and the rail industry want to enable more disabled and older people to use train services. In many cases it is these very same people that community transport helps to get around their local areas, taking them to the shops, health facilities or to meet up with friends and relatives.
Despite this link, many community transport operators report little or no demand from their current users to access stations and rail services. Meanwhile, disabled and older people are under represented in respect of use of the rail system.
Our Rail and Community Transport toolkit aims to encourage collaboration between community transport operators and the rail industry, to help develop better travel options that will give confidence for new users to travel by train.
Furthermore, it may encourage thinking around how community transport can meet needs of existing rail users, such as commuters, perhaps by offering new services that link to stations and provide an alternative to driving or getting a lift to the station.
For more information on this toolkit, email [email protected]