This short briefing provides an overview of community transport services. Note: funding for and the provision of such services is devolved within the UK.
“Community transport enables people to live independently, participate in their community and to access education, employment, health and other services. It uses and adapts conventional vehicles to do exceptional things – always for a social purpose and community benefit, but never for a profit”. [Community Transport Association]
In 2013/14 there were over 15 million passenger trips provided by at least 2,000 community transport organisations in England.
There are no collected statistics for community transport funding.
Generally, the Government’s views is that “given their greater knowledge and experience of local transport issues, … it should be for local transport authorities, working in partnership with their communities, to identify the right solutions that meet the economic and environmental challenges faced in their areas and deliver the greatest benefits for their area. Local Authorities can use a variety of sources of finance, whether from central government or locally raised, to fund the provision of Community Transport”. [DfT, HC 719, October 2014]
Local authorities that make payments to community transport operators must abide by EU state aid rules.
There have been concerns in recent years that community transport has been under pressure to replace local bus services that have been cut as part of wider local authority funding reductions, and that they do not have the resources to compensate for all of these cuts. For example, the Campaign for Better Transport told the Transport Select Committee that “community transport can only fill between 10% and 15% of former supported transport provision”. [HC 288, July 2014, para 35]
There are two types of community transport licence. Section 18 of the Transport Act 1985, as amended, provides an exemption from PSV operator and driver licensing requirements of vehicles used under permits. There are two types of community transport permits – section 19 and section 22 permits:
Gov.uk, Find out about community transport services and Shopmobility [accessed 14 December 2015]
Community Transport Association website [accessed 14 December 2015]
Royal Voluntary Service, Community transport [accessed 14 December 2015]
HC Library briefing, Westminster Hall debate: Cost of school transport, CDP2015-002, 24 June 2015
DfT, Community transport operator funding: EU state aid rules, 14 January 2015
DfT, Community transport minibus fund, 28 November 2014
Transport Committee, 8th Special Report - Passenger transport in isolated communities: Government Response, HC 719, 31 October 2014
Transport Committee, Passenger transport in isolated communities, 4th Report 2014-15, HC 288, 22 July 2014
DfT, Section 19 and 22 permits: not for profit passenger transport, 7 August 2013
Defra, Wheels to work, 23 March 2010
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7426
Author: Louise Butcher