Community transport (CT) services play a unique role in filling the accessibility gap which conventional public transport cannot fill as a result of funding, accessibility or spatial constraints. In England alone there are approximately 1,700 community transport organisations, with over 60,000 volunteers and 10,000 employees. Over 15-million trips were provided by community transport (CT) groups in 2010 and many of these services were tailored to the needs of groups and individuals, providing both efficient and effective community based transport. In Australia, Community Transport is organised on a State basis, with different models of operation, and so it is difficult to estimate the national impact in terms of numbers. However, in contrast to British and American models, Community Transport in Australia is more targeted at the disabled and frail members of society as funding limits the ability of community transport groups to meet the spatial gaps inherent in the lower density land use of Australia.This paper will highlight, with illustrated examples, the benefits of community transport and illustrate recent developments within the sector in both Britain and Australia. In the case of Britain the move towards partnership-working with local authority is the hallmark of current Government policy. Wide scale adoption of ICT is also enabling CT operators to diversify their activities and this is illustrated by a case-study from Glasgow. In Australia, the sector is at an important milestone: the Federal Government is about to change the rules of the funding process and it is anticipated that Australian community transport groups will be looking world-wide for inspiration as to how to confront this step change.
- community transport