Happy CT aims to help community transport, dial-a-rides and community car schemes to collaborate; filling empty seats, and reducing isolation and transport poverty for thousands of vulnerable people.
Community Transport services across the UK are run by amazing people. They manage to achieve a lot on very little, but budgets are tightening and the demand for their services is increasing. Passengers cannot afford to pay more and so a new solution is needed.
The opportunity for positive disruption is based on a combination of low awareness levels of service provision, low occupancy levels and low utilisation of the vehicles. We estimate that, currently, most Community Transport services run at around 20 per cent capacity, and many vehicles are not being used for many hours each day.
The challenge is that, currently, most service providers work in isolation and individuals are often unaware of the range of services available. According to our research and 18 years of experience running the Liftshare network, we believe that operators and passengers would greatly benefit from collaborating with others. For no additional cost, more seats could be filled, more routes served, more passengers taken and greater social benefits achieved.
The key technical challenge is that Community Transport services tend to be flexible, and, as such, they do not have fixed routes or timetables.
Liftshare is on a mission to solve transport poverty through sharing. To date we have focussed much of our efforts on helping individuals to share cars and have built the UK’s largest car sharing network with 100,000 shared trips each day.
We recognise that there are many similarities between what we do and with Community Transport, and we feel that we can use our knowledge to have a really positive impact in a challenging area.
Why the ShareLab Fund?
In the last couple of years, Liftshare has carried out research into the Community Transport market and feel that there is a real market demand to achieve more with less.
We believe that by using technology and a straightforward approach to filling empty seats, we can help.
If we deliver a successful pilot in Norfolk then we believe we can build a case for a large scale roll-out of the service right across the UK and beyond.
There are 9 million lonely people in the UK and a lack of travel options is a major contributor to isolation and loneliness. Our goal is to fill a million community transport seats by 31 March 2020.