Community transport providers from across Scotland will gather at Holyrood next week (Wednesday 18 September) to discuss the future of the sector with MSPs on the Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
More than 80% of people who use community transport are elderly and/or people with disabilities, who find it difficult to access public transport. During 2013, the Committee examined the problems community transport users and providers in Scotland face and identified examples of where services are working well.
In July, the Committee published its report and called for funding to be made available to help community transport providers buy new and replacement vehicles. Last week, the Scottish Government responded to the Committee stating it was “working with the third sector to consider how the need to fund new vehicles for community transport might be met.”
Committee Convener Maureen Watt MSP explained:
“Our Committee called on the Scottish Government to consider the best way to assist community transport, particularly by making funding available to help replace community transport vehicles at the right time. We asked for a full assessment of the likely costs so that a funding source can be identified, along with the development of practical proposals around how this could be managed and accessed.
“Our event next week offers the sector the opportunity to consider with us the responses from the Scottish Government, in advance of our report being debated by the whole Parliament. It is important that our Committee continues its relationship with the transport providers responsible on the ground for these life line services.”
The report highlighted the key issues identified in evidence as impacting upon the provision and operation of community transport in Scotland. Additionally, the Committee highlighted difficulties relating to the high costs of training for volunteer drivers, a need for joint working and a lack of information on the nature of current community transport provision, in order obtain a complete picture of community transport needs across Scotland.
It called on the Scottish Government to expand the role and funding of the Community Transport Association (CTA) Scotland so that it can take on the role of providing practical support and advice to local organisations.
Attending the meeting
Lothian Community Transport Services
Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Co.
South West Community Transport
Coalfield Community Transport
Optima in West Lothian
CTA (Community Transport Association)
East Scotland, British Red Cross
Royal Voluntary Service
Voluntary Action Scotland
Aberdeen City Council
East Lothian Council
Scottish Borders Council
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
Scottish Ambulance Service
Duncan McNeil MSP Convener, Health & Sport Committee
The report and the Scottish Government’s response can be found on the Committee’s webpages