Community transport is part of the voluntary sector and plays a key role in filling gaps in service where public transport is not available and provides a lifeline in both rural and urban areas. It offers safe, accessible, cost-effective, flexible transport run by the community for the community.
It shows what can be done when people take responsibility for solving their own problems. Meeting local transport needs in a non-profit-making or social enterprise way and can involve a mixture of volunteers and paid staff.
There are many types of community transport including:
- Car clubs
- Community minibuses
- Lift share
- Taxi share
- Voluntary car schemes
Some groups offer services just for their members, others are open to the public. It can take disabled people to work, children to school, sick people to healthcare and older people to the shops. It runs local bus routes and provides transport for a wide range of clubs and other groups.
Community transport in Oxfordshire
In Oxfordshire there is an active and diverse community transport sector. From small volunteer car schemes to larger minibus schemes offering timetabled services.
Community Minibus – Ourbus Bartons
OurBus Bartons was established in 2016, by a group of dedicated volunteers responding to cuts that left their local community without public transport, and the twin spectres of rural isolation and stagnation looming. OurBus Bartons provides a scheduled weekday bus service along nine routes linking our local community with transport hubs in larger villages, health centres and supermarkets. OurBus Bartons is also available to hire most evenings and weekends.
Volunteer Car Scheme – Vale Community Impact (was Wantage Independent Advice Centre)
Vale Community Impact's Transport service covers Wantage, Faringdon, Harwell, Watchfield and the surrounding villages of the Vale of White Horse, driving clients to Day Centres, surgeries, hospitals, and appointments. Between March 2019 - April 2020, 60 volunteer drivers transported over 6,000 people nearly 100,000 miles in and around the Vale of White Horse..
How to find a service near you
If you find it difficult to access public transport, there may be a community transport service to help you.
Community Transport Association allows you to seek out your local community-run transport service in any area of England.
Oxfordshire specific searches can be made at:
Oxfordshire Local Transport Toolkit
If you have identified a local transport need in your community this self-help guide could be useful in identifying an appropriate solution.
It is hoped that communities can use the self-help toolkit (pdf format, 1Mb) as a guide to tackle local transport problems in a practical and effective way.
We have tried to make this toolkit user friendly, but if your community or group need further help then there is some support offered by Community First Oxfordshire.
Community Transport grants
The council supports the development of not-for-profit community transport groups and services. Small start-up grants to help groups in the initial stages of development are available.
We can also help with the cost of training volunteers as minibus and passenger assistants.
Contact us for more information.
How you can help
Most of us take it for granted that we will be able to get to the places we need to. However, when people can’t drive or access public transport, they can be stranded.
Helping is rewarding and can be very flexible. Contact your local community transport group directly to see how you could help, for example by:
- making sure people who need it know about the service
- helping with fundraising
- becoming a volunteer driver
- helping with bookings.
You can also look for opportunities through your local volunteer centre, as some groups will advertise openings in that way.