Transportation is a major concern for many communities. Everybody has the need for transportation whether it is commuting to and from work, visiting the supermarket or for socialising. Whilst a large percentage of people drive, there are still those that do not or unable to. Public transportation is often expensive, unreliable and does not get you to where you need to go.
Residents in Need
This creates an issue for many people, but particularly the older generation, those that have a physical disability or mobility problem and those with learning or mental health difficulties. Whilst some residents may have a support network that can help them to get around, there are those that do not. The solution to the issue is community transport schemes. In addition to mobilising residents and helping them with daily life, these schemes can engage communities and provide social opportunities.
Helpful Transport Schemes
So, what makes a good community transport scheme? You should offer a range of services, including door to door transportation, door to store trips, transport to and from centers for older people and social excursions. There should be assistance for those that require it, the vehicles should be comfortable and spacious and it should be an affordable service (usually there is a membership charge and small fee for each trip). It should encourage social inclusion and be a service that residents of the community can rely on.
To get started, you need a determined group that works together to identify the flaws in the community’s transportation system. This knowledge will allow you to develop a plan and create a new system that will address these issues and benefit the community. Costs need to be drawn up and this will include vehicle cost, permits, insurance, fuel, salaries, marketing, utilities etc. You should then secure funding so that the operation can be properly financed and you can determine how to turn profit.
As a provider of community transportation, the key investment will be the vehicles. The type that you purchase will depend on the services you plan to provide, but they should have space for multiple passengers, have wheelchair accessibility and plenty of storage space. Specialists like Allied Fleet Mobility have adapted and specialist vehicles designed for social transport. Companies like this will help you to identify exactly what you need and help to get you up and running.
Much like any new business, publicity and marketing will be vital to get you off the ground. A website and social media presence is important, but keep in mind that the target audience may not be users of these mediums. Therefore, traditional marketing such as flyers, posters and radio adverts are crucial. If possible, advertise your community transport in relevant social spaces. This could include care homes, supermarkets, hospitals, social clubs and other key community spaces. As with any new business, word of mouth can be extremely powerful.
Transportation within the community is essential, yet there are many that struggle to get where they need to go. A community travel scheme should help those that need it most and address gaps in public transportation. This will bring long-term social benefits to residents.