#CatchtheBus Week | Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport
This Catch the Bus Week, we’re sharing the stories of community transport providers who connect their communities through running vital community bus routes and services. Without community transport, so many of the people who depend on these services would be left alone, without the transport they rely on. Below is the story of Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport.
Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport
Maggie Lawson, Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport
The Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Company (BSCTC), known as “Where2Today?” has been working around the local area to provide affordable, accessible flexible transport for its local residents and visitors to the area.
Priding itself on offering one of the most efficient and successful community transport schemes in Scotland, the charity include volunteer drivers and telephonists who support the varying needs of the local communities. Where2Today has been operating a community car scheme service for the past 20 years, filling gaps where there was either no public transport or people couldn’t access the buses or trains due to mobility or geographic issues. This service initially provided a link and much needed connection for people to gain access to health appointments, social activities, day care, social catch ups, sporting events and fitness activities.But, it wasn’t long before we learnt how important it was for someone who is wheelchair bound to get out of their home and able to access services like any able bodied person. This was when we purchased our first accessible MPV around 10 years ago and haven’t looked back since!
Around 6 years ago, we took delivery of our first minibus and were able to operate more S19 services for our local people. It wasn’t long after that we spoke to our Local Authority about the idea of operating a section 22 community bus service to allow our regular users who were mobility impaired and vulnerable clients, a better opportunity to get out and about on a regular basis, mostly for free!
BSCTC has now been running section 22 community bus routes for the last 4 years. The registered routes have already been extended due to demand and now operate Monday – Friday between 9.30am – 4.30pm. Our service users realize that having a form of transport which reliably comes to their door, gives them the confidence to get out safely. The social part on the bus is the best, people meet others they haven’t seen for years and the chat on the bus is usually hilarious says our drivers!
The bus can also be equipped to hold two wheelchairs and the fully trained drivers are happy to assist the safe boarding of people with poor mobility who may wish to use the lift to enter the vehicle.
Scores of people now depend on this service to get them out to critical services. They often state that they just don’t know what they would do if the bus was to cease. BSCTC know for a fact that if the Department for Transport’s proposals do come about, then their services would have to go, we cannot afford to lose volunteers who give up their time freely and we know they have told us they do not want to be going through CPC. To our passengers, complicated legislation doesn’t matter; they just want someone to help them maintain their independence as they get older, giving them a normal life.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.