Like so many other areas of society, coronavirus has caused a huge shift in the way that community transport is operating at the moment. Since lock-down began, we’ve been surveying over 200 CTA members to get a clear picture of the changes that have taken place across the sector.
Our new report looks at this changing landscape, detailing how coronavirus has affected the traditional services provided by community transport, the impact it’s had on staff, volunteers and funding streams, how our members are adapting their services, and their hopes and concerns about the future. It also shares on the ground, inspiring examples of how community transport providers are stepping up to support the people that rely on them for food, medicine and social contact.
There has been a significant drop in demand for traditional community transport services such as dial-a-ride transport, school contracts, community bus services and community car schemes.
Whilst demand has fallen for essential services such as hospital and health related transport, these services have been least affected, demonstrating the vital role community transport plays in providing essential journeys.
The usual funding streams for community transport have heavily reduced since lock-down began. Most providers are confident that they will retain income from existing grants and local authority funding, but fare income and donations have been the hardest hit. Almost three quarters of members have had staff and volunteers who have been unable to work due to self-isolation.
Despite these challenges, the community transport sector has been stepping up and adapting their services, undertaking new activities such as home delivery of food and medicines, partnering with local foodbanks, as well as increasing phone contact and support for socially isolated passengers.
Looking to the future
CTA’s Chief Executive, Bill Freeman said: “We don’t know how long these difficult and challenging times will last. What we do know, is that for as long as they can, in whatever way they can, our members will be using every resource at their disposal to support their communities. We continue to be inspired by their resourcefulness, tenacity and dedication to improving people’s lives.
Already there are discussions about finding ways to continue these sorts of services once normality resumes, as well as getting back to connecting their passengers with the people and places they love. But this relies on our members being able to get the guidance and support they need during these uncertain times to come out the other side ready to connect our communities. When things start to get back to normal, when schools return, when shops and businesses start to open their doors, the community transport sector will be there, ready to play the invaluable role that is at the heart of our sector. That’s what we’re working for at the Community Transport Association. If you want to find out more please do get in touch.”
For more examples of the work being done by community transport and regular updates on changes to guidance, be sure to follow CTA on Twitter and keep up to date with our blog. You can also get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a community transport provider who needs support, or if you have any questions about what the Government’s guidance means for your organisation, you can find our latest guidance at ctauk.org/covid19-guidance/ or email our advice team via email@example.com.
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.