Community Transport

Partnership In Action

ABILITY provides community transport. Partnering with local authorities and community organisations, we are “Connecting People With Places”.

Why Community Transport?

The Problem

A recent review by the Government found that many people in the UK lack access to important local services and activities such as jobs, healthcare, education, and leisure as a result of a lack of adequate transport provision.

One quarter of all UK households do not have regular access to a car, 60% of which are in the lowest two income percentiles. The elderly, young people and minority groups have been found to be the groups worst affected by transport poverty.

But transport poverty goes beyond just not having transport available to you, it’s more subtle than that. It can mean:

  • Having no transport options suited to an individual’s physical condition and capabilities.
  • Policy makers failing to consider the reach of transport services and time spent travelling.
  • The cost of transport leaving households with a residual income below the poverty line.

Transport issues can have devastating impacts on local communities, leading to social isolation, lower quality of life, and decreased access to life-enhancing opportunities. Nearly one third of older people in the UK, and half of over 80s, say they are lonely. The adverse health and social consequences of this were made clear by an ECT report Why Community Transport Matters.

Meanwhile, a lack of access to public transport among young people provides a significant barrier to young people looking to take up employment and education. Moreover, a lack a transport options linking children to primary and secondary schools can present significant problems for parents in full time work.

Years of government cuts to public transport, alongside issues resulting from the pandemic, have only exacerbated the situation and ensured these problems continue to persist.

ABILITY Community Transport is a local social enterprise dedicated to tackling these issues.

Community Transport proving assistance to the elderly
Community Transport providing connections to vital services
Community Transport connecting people with places

ABILITY
Connecting People With Places

Scheme Members

Trips Last Month

Total KM Travelled

01327 604123

From 9.00am until 1.30pm
or visit our Contact Page

How ABILITY Community Transport Can Help

Shopper Bus Service

Our community bus service provides an essential service linking residents of rural and isolated areas in Northamptonshire and North Oxfordshire to local towns and commercial hubs. This service supports users looking to get their shopping done, make their hospital appointments, collect their prescriptions, or just enjoy a fresh cup of coffee!

However, our users say this is more than just a transport service; it’s an opportunity to socialise and have fun! Instead of being forced to stay at home, we encourage members to come out and meet new people in a safe and enjoyable environment. We offer a range of different travel options and aim to cover as many local residents as possible.

Community & Group Travel

We offer our members the option to use our group travel service. Many local community groups may only require minibus hire certain times of the day, or days of the week, leaving them unused most of the time. ABILITY offers to take on this sunk cost for local organisations, providing them with a more affordable transport solution where they don’t have to pay for the staffing and upkeep of the bus.

ABILITY has helped numerous local organisations to get out and about on day trips, including the Scouts, Army Cadets, and DEAFConnect. Our drivers love getting involved with these diverse groups of people, and even picked up some sign language along the way!

Outings & Trips

Aside from our regular mobility service, we also offer members the ability to book onto our “free” trips service. We aim to offer users weekly trips to popular leisure destinations around the county. Previous trips have been a great success, with destinations including MK Shopping Centre, Beckworth Emporium, and Rushden Lakes.

As a reminder, Gold and Silver members are given priority booking for this service. Bronze members will be put on a reserve list to be notified 2 days prior to the trip whether there is a seat available for them.

01327 604123

From 9.00am until 1.30pm
or visit our Contact Page

Additional Benefits of Community Transport

 

Environment Sustainability

In 2019, the Office for National Statistics found that, as a sector, transport remained by far the largest source of national carbon emissions, accounting for over 34% of all emissions. Of this, the large majority of emissions were from road transport. As a result of the efficiency of using multi-person vehicles, ABILITY hopes to help tackle this problem by reducing the number individual journeys people take. More passengers on our buses means less cars on the road, which will help to reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality.

We are also reducing emissions by using a logistics planning IT system which optimises all our journeys to reduce dead mileage and wasted petrol. Unlike conventional public transport services, which must follow a fixed route regardless of if there are passengers on the bus or not, we utilise the quickest route possible, using 70% less fuel than average buses. In doing so, we hope to increase transport efficiency and decrease congestion on busy roads.

Our commitment to tackling environmental issues head on will be further boosted in the years to come, with ABILITY drawing up plans which would see our current buses replaced with a fleet of fully electric minibuses. Not only will these efforts contribute towards maintaining a clean and green environment locally, but widespread small-scale changes such as these will also be instrumental to achieving the national transition to carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

Thriving Economies

At ABILITY we believe passionately that we can provide significant benefits to the wider community by helping to support its fantastic local businesses and cultural sites, boosting economic growth.

As a transport provider, we aim to make it easier for people to get to where they need to be. Many of our passengers often have no alternative means of travel, meaning we help them get out and about more often than they otherwise might, to visit shops, markets, cultural outlets, and other services. In doing so, Ability is encouraging the continued growth of a thriving economy by supporting local businesses in some of the county’s most vibrant towns.

In rural counties, strong linkages between rural villages and larger market towns are essential for achieving economic cohesion. A comprehensive transport network that reaches all members of the community will be vital in ensuring robust economic growth which leaves no area behind.

01327 604123

From 9.00am until 1.30pm
or visit our Contact Page

COVID-19

Lockdown has been a particularly difficult period for us and our users. As restrictions were placed on going out, the issues of social isolation and loneliness which we set out to tackle only got worse. Over lockdown, we found that our booking line became a much-welcomed source of socialisation, with some of our members going weeks without seeing anyone! Our office team are always happy to stop and have a chat with anyone missing a bit of company.

Even during times when we had no option but to suspend our bus routes for passengers, the buses did not stand idle. During the first lockdown, we were approached by South Northamptonshire Council and asked to transport an urgent delivery of food boxes to those in need. Since then, we have voluntarily offered our transportation free of charge, and have transported over 2000 food boxes to vulnerable people. We are always willing to cooperate with other organisations across the third sector to work towards improving the wellbeing of those in the community.

Fortunately, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, as our passengers begin to get out and about on our buses once again. However, we recognise that there are still many areas that lack a regular and affordable transport option. Therefore, going forward ABILITY is looking to expand further, in the hope that we can continue connecting people with places, to ensure that no community is left behind.