• Coronavirus/COVID-19: Guidance for Community Transport

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    • Coronavirus/COVID-19: Guidance for Community Transport

    Last updated on 09 April

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    CTA’s approach to supporting our members

    As the situation around COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, develops we want to make sure that our members can access the guidance they need to understand any actions or precautions they might need to take.

    As a large section of your passengers are older people and/or have long-term conditions, there is naturally concern about how you can best support people in your care.

    To keep your service users and those that work and volunteer in community transport as safe as possible CTA has two priorities:

    • Firstly, to ensure our members have access to the most up to date information from official sources. Recognising there are multiple sources of information, our aim is to bring it all together in one place on our website. We will update it whenever new information becomes available and inform members when these updates have been made. We will also make the date of any changes clearly visible on our website.
    • Secondly, to encourage members to bring issues and questions to us and if we cannot answer them ourselves we will ensure that these are raised with the Department for Transport and other relevant public bodies.

    The CTA Advice Service

    CTA Advice Service: The CTA team are currently working remotely, so to ensure you speak to the right person first time, please email advice@ctauk.org to receive a call back for advice and support. Our advice service operates 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday-Friday.

    Advice Service Drop-in: due to the changing nature of the situation, our advice team will also be holding a weekly online drop-in where members can join a video call to talk to the team and each other about the latest guidance and ask any questions. You can find a blog post about what we discussed at our most recent drop in session here.

    The next call will be on Friday 15 May from 11:00 – 12:00.   If you want to join the next call please email advice@ctauk.org with the subject line ‘Covid-19 weekly drop-in’. 

    Latest Information

    Resources and funding programmes in response to coronavirus 

    We know that funding is a real concern for community transport providers at the moment, with many of their sources of income no longer being viable in the face of coronavirus, and many of their overheads still in place.

    There are however, a number of different funding sources that are offering emergency funding to charities and organisations going through these sorts of difficulties.

    This includes a recently announced £750m fund from the UK Government, of which £370 million will go to small local charities including those delivering food and essential medicines. You can find more information here and we’ll update this guidance with details on how to apply when we have them.

    We’ve also put together a list of other potentially useful funds at ctauk.org/coronavirus-funding-and-resources/. Given the rapidly changing situation, there are new programmes emerging regularly so this is not an exhaustive list and we will be updating it with new information, so keep checking back.

    UK Government guidance on social distancing in the workplace 

    UK Government guidance stipulates that if you can, you should work from home. But as we mention below, for community transport providers who are operating essential services, this may not be possible.

    The guidance states that workplaces need to avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to be spread by maintaining a distance of at least two meters between individuals wherever possible.

    You can find the UK Government’s detailed guidance on workplace social distancing here.

    They have also released guidance on workplace social distancing for specific activities including pick-up and delivery services and transport services. You can find that guidance here.

    The UK Government have also updated their guidance on correct use of Personal Protective Equipment. This guidance is mainly aimed towards medical professionals, but some elements may be useful for community transport providers running essential services. You can find that information here.

    What does social distancing guidance mean for your services?

    On Monday 23 March, the UK Government outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people. You can find the Government’s full guidance on these measures here.

    Does this mean I should cancel my usual services?

    The latest guidance from the UK Government is to avoid all but essential public transport (if you are a key worker, unable to work from home for example). This undoubtedly means that community transport cannot run the sorts of services they normally would and should not be transporting groups of passengers in their vehicles until the UK Government’s guidance changes.

    Can I run essential services and what would these be?

    For members who are running, or considering running, essential services such as taking individuals to vital medical appointments for example, this is something that you can do under the current UK government guidance, as long as you take the right precautions.  We’ve produced guidance on what you should consider when operating these services which you can download here.

    Can I use my vehicles to deliver shopping, transport food, medicines or other goods?

    Many community transport providers are changing their services to support passengers who are self-isolating or staying in their homes due to the most recent UK Government guidance. This includes taking shopping to those who can’t get to the shops, or working with their local foodbank to take deliveries  out into the community. If this is something you want to do, and are able to do safely, we’ve published guidance on using your vehicles for delivery purposes, as well as on working with your local foodbank, which you can find below.

    Am I allowed to leave the house to operate/coordinate any services we’re running?

    According to the UK Government’s guidance, if you operate key public services, such as “charities and workers delivering key front line services” or “sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods” then you are classified as a key worker.

    The 23 March guidance from the UK government on staying at home states that you can travel “too and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.” So if you can work from home, you should, but if you need to operate essential services such as the delivery of food to vulnerable people then you are permitted to travel to and from work.

    Please note this is with the proviso that you do not have to self-isolate due to yourself or anyone in your household displaying symptoms of coronavirus or coming into contact with someone who has symptoms, or the virus itself. If anyone involved in running your services should be self-isolating due to these reasons, they should not be coming into work.

    On 07 April, the UK Government provided further advice on how to social distance effectively in the workplace which you can find here.

    Using your services to make home delivery of food, goods and medicines

    If you are looking at the possibility of using your vehicles to make home deliveries of food, goods and medicines, whether as part of a wider programme or just on an individual basis, this is something that you can do under the most recent guidance, providing you are doing it safely and legally.

    CTA has been working with John Taylor and John Atkins of the TAS Partnership to put together guidance on using community transport services to make home deliveries for those who have no other means of getting what they need. The guidance looks at the legal side of operating these sorts of services on section 19 and 22 permits as well as information on insurance, safety when transporting food, and other practical considerations. You can download the advice here.

    Opportunities to work with your local foodbank

    One avenue where community transport providers could use their services to get food and essential supplies into their community is by working with their local foodbank.

    CTA have been working with the Trussell Trust, a national charity that supports 1,200 foodbank centres which provide emergency food and practical support to people in crisis. Getting involved with your local foodbank is a clear and tangible way that community transport providers can use their resources to get food out into their community, and has the benefit of doing so with the Trust’s framework and safeguards in place, as well as in a situation where money doesn’t change hands. Click here to download a letter from CTA and the Trussell Trust with more details about how you can get involved.

    General Information and Guidance

    Where to go for official guidance?

    Our advice as your membership body is to always take guidance from the experts. The governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be working closely with the UK Government. Our main references points will be the official advice from these Governments and NHS England: 

    If you work in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you may also wish to check if there is any additional advice by public bodies in your nation. 

    General advice for understanding the symptoms  

    The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has coronavirus:  

    • A cough 
    • A high temperature 
    • Shortness of breath  

    If you are worried about symptoms please all NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.  

    Taking precautions
    • Wash your hands often, with soap (or soap substitutes) and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport so make sure you remind your passengers of the need to do this.  
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin. You can download a ’Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ poster for your workplace from the NHS.  
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.  
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 

    Cleaning your vehicles
    • You may already have procedures in place to ensure the interiors of your vehicles are kept clean. You should consider whether you need to increase the frequency of your cleaning regime and take any additional measures. 
    • Focus especially on areas of the vehicle which receive the most regular contact with and including:  
    • Door handles 
    • Handrails 
    • Head rests
    • Seat grab handles 
    • Seat backs 
    • Seat belts (tongue/buckle/webbing.)  

     When cleaning your vehicle, there are a few things to bear in mind:  

    • Using too much water/liquid can make interior fabrics damp, which will increases the likelihood that germs will collect and thrive. This can be overcome by being careful with the amount of water/disinfectant being used and maintaining adequate ventilation both during cleaning and vehicle operation. Adhesives can also fail with excessive cleaning.  
    • Make sure wet floors and surfaces are dried before passengers board.  

    What to do in the workplace 

    The latest advice from the UK government is to work from home if at all possible. We would encourage this advice to be followed, but understand that this is less easy for community transport providers, so there are a number of precautions to take if you are still working in an office environment: 

    • Provide clear information using communication channels including posters and email. You may wish to display information in your vehicles for your passengers as well. 
    • Handwashing facilities should be available and well supplied. More regular handwashing may require more supplies. Provide hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning products around your buildings for staff and visitors. GOV.UK has published clear and printable instructions on handwashing techniques which can be displayed around the workplace.   
    • Cleaning regimes: Viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours. Frequently clean key areas including keyboards and door handles.  
    • You can find the UK Government’s detailed guidance on workplace social distancing here.
    • They have also released guidance on workplace social distancing for specific activities including pick-up and delivery services and transport services. You can find that guidance here.
    • The UK Government have also updated their guidance on correct use of Personal Protective Equipment. This guidance is mainly aimed towards medical professionals, but some elements may be useful for community transport providers running essential services. You can find that information here.

    What other advice is out there?

    As mentioned above, it’s important to keep up to date with the latest advice – in the first instance make sure you keep up to date with official advice from the UK Government, and the NHS: 

    NCVO have also produced advice and resources for voluntary organisations concerned about coronavirus including risk management processes and organisational planning: 

    There is also specific advice and information from various other charities:  

    • The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions.  
    • SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support.  
    • Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.  
    • Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information. 

    Further Information

    This guidance is not exhaustive, and ultimately it’s up to you to follow the advice from the official public bodies and use your own judgement on operating services. We will continue to be monitoring the situation and will update this guidance when new information becomes available.

    If you have any specific questions relating to coronavirus and your organisation please email advice@ctauk.org. 

    Stay in touch with CTA

    As we said at the outset, CTA is encouraging members to bring issues and questions to us and if we cannot answer them ourselves we will ensure that these are raised with the Department for Transport and other relevant public bodies

    Things you may wish to tell us, include:

    • Whether any public bodies you contract with or work with have placed any additional requirements on you in relation to managing risks associated with Covid-19.
    • If you are being given any advice that contradicts anything in the formal, official guidance.
    • If restrictions on operating your services are affecting your ability to fulfil any contractual obligations, which may then impact on your funding.
    • If staff and volunteer absences are affecting your ability to run services.

    If there is any additional advice you feel you need and cannot find, please email advice@ctauk.org.


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    • John Humphries

      19:52 12th March 2020

      I much appreciate your guidance here. Some of our clients have already cancelled and advice on how to clean our vehicle is very useful.

    • Jonathan Barstow

      10:59 13th March 2020

      Two care homes that use our minibus have now cancelled bookings as they are no longer making trips out, due to the Covid19 virus.

    • G S Hawley

      09:23 14th March 2020

      Thank you for your email

    • Bruce Horne - Henley HandyBus

      11:09 14th March 2020

      Thank you for above advice and regular updated comments
      Very useful

    • Lincoln Area Dial a Ride Ltd

      09:57 17th March 2020

      Many of our luncheon groups have cancelled.

    • Jill Bayliss, GorranBus

      15:44 19th March 2020

      We have consolidated our three Truro services to two, and two St. Austell services into one. This gives us some free time to help with collecting groceries etc.
      We have cancelled all planned excursions and will keep our monthly Plymouth service under review.

    • Vee Robinson-Caffrey

      16:41 19th March 2020

      All of our groups have now cancelled.
      Our car scheme has been severely depleted.
      Our school contracts are affected along with everyone else and the local authority has said that at present they class this as a “force majeure” meaning no payments. However, when the crisis is over they will need vehicles and staff in place to continue the contracts. I’m pleased the stance the CTA are taking in regard to this, we will be contacting our MP too.

    • Nigel Hinch

      18:00 19th March 2020

      Demand has dropped to a level that we are consolidating routes into two day’s.
      Day centres closed, retirement villages and care homes preventing visitors. Families telling elderly parents not to go on the bus

    • stuart needham

      19:24 19th March 2020

      All the MiDAS Training I have scheduled for the next 3 months has been cancelled so no income/cash flow -my concern is, as a small training charity, of not knowing if we will be entitled to the £10,000 small business grant? if we are, then how soon can we receive it? what is the criteria to claim the grant? how do we actually get it awarded? – especially as our local council has sent out some info about how they are not generating normal revenues, and their income streams are being affected e.g. reduced car parking revenue, reduced room hire revenue etc. – the worry is that they will ‘top-slice’ any bulk of grant monies cascaded down from the government for their own needs before seeking out the small businesses to disseminate it to
      and I am self isolating but I’m eager to know if I’ve actually had the virus – I have demonstrated most symptoms except a temperature – I need some sort of testing – because if I have had it and will subsequently recover, then eventually I could volunteer my services (and use of our minibus), but if I’ve not actually had it then I don’t want to be out there and catch it, or put others at risk if I still have it
      things are just not clear

    • Julia Howell

      08:48 20th March 2020

      Dear CTA
      Most of our drivers are 70+ and will soon have to make decisions on continuing. All our community hires have been cancelled and the majority of passengers are the ‘at risk’ group. We now have no income to pay our staff member. We would like some advice please.

    • CS

      10:27 20th March 2020

      Do you think it is still appropriate to charge for these services as a volunteer community scheme or should volunteer drivers be reimbursed via SCC subsidy instead?

    • Robin heath

      15:23 21st March 2020

      Would detol help to disinfect surfaces in my taxi?
      Or perhaps bleach in water?

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