For the majority of the population commuting to work, leisure activities, health and social care appointments or visiting friends and family is straightforward. If you have a disability or mobility problem or live in a rural area, getting around can be more challenging.
Nearly one in five people in Scotland have a long term activity-limiting health problem or disability and approximately one in ten disabled people in the UK have difficulty accessing public transport services.
Community Transport Glasgow (CTG) is a not-for-profit transport organisation providing transport solutions to vulnerable communities in Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire and Lanarkshire; we transport approximately 75,000 passengers annually.
With the estimated 31% increase in the elderly population over the next 20 years along with the reduction in commercial public transport services, we need better transport delivery models within the overall transport mix. That is why we have created the Transport Hub; making use of an interactive web based scheduling and booking solution to create a single point of contact.
This collaborative digital platform will enable us to match up supply - from key stakeholders such as Local Authorities, Community Transport Operators and the NHS - to demand of vulnerable individuals and community groups. This will assist in addressing the transport needs of passengers and patients who are vulnerable or live in disadvantaged communities by working in partnership with key stakeholders to make better utilisation of existing transport resources to improve and develop transport solutions.
Through a partnership developed with NHS Lanarkshire, CTG is piloting the scheduling, planning and booking of NHS Lanarkshire’s non-emergency transport provision through CTG’s newly established Transport Co-ordination Centre. The Transport Hub went live on 1st April 2019 with activity for the initial four weeks of operation seeing 614 transport journeys booked and scheduled through the Coordination Centre. With 15% of these journeys moved to two third sector providers, a Community Transport Operator and a voluntary organisation, making use of their available vehicle capacity.
The successful development, establishment and going live with the Transport Hub is down to a number of factors:
The last point in relation to staff is key, feedback from staff has been:
“It is great to be part of something that is innovative and is looking at assisting communities to enable them to access services and activities through better transport options”CTG Staff Member
The establishment of the Co-ordination Centre and the pilot project with NHS Lanarkshire is just the start of the journey. CTG has an ambitious strategy to develop a holistic approach to the current and future challenges faced by vulnerable communities who require access to accessible, affordable and reliable transport services. This includes continuing to develop innovative transport solutions to meet communities needs as well as looking at how we can work with key stakeholders to make better use of under-utilised transport resources.
The long term ambition is to expand and diversify the work of the Coordination Centre to provide information on transport options and develop a mobility and accessibility centre that will provide support and assistance to those people who cannot access mainstream public transport.