Community Transport is diverse array of services and solutions delivered by communities to meet local transport needs. Community Transport providers use a mix of methods including mopeds, cars and minibuses to support the most important local journeys. Services provided include school, hospital and community group transport, dial-a-ride, busses which take residents to shops, or deliver shopping to residents,
Typically, community transport is demand responsive, making door-to-door journeys as and when required. However, increasingly communities are providing scheduled, fixed route services. These services are always delivered for local social good, never for profit and often by volunteers, meaning that community transport is adaptive, inclusive and reliable and friendly.
Community Transport can provide a huge number of local benefits across all demographics and areas. Often community transport fills the gaps left by receding public services, allowing residents to continue to access employment, education and many other key services.
Community Transport can also be an important part of supporting vulnerable and isolated community members, providing transit to medical appointments, shops and social activities.
Some Community Transport groups are taking innovative approaches to funding the services they provide such as offering local tours to visitors and tourists, bringing sustainable income to support their transport services alongside wider benefits for local businesses.
As well as developing new and innovative transport services many community groups are looking to lower their carbon emissions by adopting electric vehicles or launching car and bike sharing projects. Whilst community transport itself is an inherently sustainable mode of transport moving to low carbon and shared vehicles can help community transport providers to further support the environment, reduce operating costs and promote wider sustainable transport within their communities.
After receiving funding from SP Energy Network, Glasgow Community Transport (GCT) became the first community transport provider in Scotland to operate a fully electric fleet. With a fleet of five electric minibuses and two electric people carriers, GCT have ensured that they can continue to provide essential services across the city sustainably. Read a report on their transition to an EV fleet here.
The Isle of Hoy Development Trust (IoHDT), based on Hoy Orkney, run the Hoy and Walls Community Bus service to provide a range of services to locals and visitors. Through the ReFLEX project and with support from Community Energy Scotland IoHDT now own two EV people carriers which are used alongside existing services to reduce overall fuel consumption and maximise use of local renewable energy generation.
The Community Transport Association are a UK wide charity who represent and support community transport providers. The CTA membership includes thousands of rural and urban community groups and charities each providing a unique range of transport services to meet local need. Accessibility and inclusivity are core values of the CTA, inform the support, advise, training and education the provide to their members.
Membership of the CTA is priced according to the applicant's annual income, which helps to ensure accessibility. Members receive advice, support and training to develop the transport services they provide, access to networking and educational events and updates on key policy developments.
The support of the CTA can help communities initiate and develop essential transport services to benefit their local areas.
Community Energy Scotland also have growing experience in advising and supporting groups in adopting EVs. Through the ReFLEX and Energy in Motion projects, CES have helped community transport providers in Orkney and the Western Isles identify and procure suitable EVs for community transport and delivery services. Get in touch here if you’d like to discuss transitioning to EVs with CES.