Parish transport representatives

Information on what a parish transport representative (PTR) is and what they do.

About the parish transport representative (PTR)

In 1986, Community First Oxfordshire (then called ORCC) launched the independent Parish Transport Representative network, with the backing of the county council, to give communities a means of voicing their needs and concerns about local transport. 

A PTR does not have to be a parish or town councillor, although they are appointed by their local council.  The person is nominated either by a member of the local council, by another member of the community, or by the PTR themselves.

PTR meetings

Meetings are held three times a year and provide an opportunity for officers to keep PTRs up to date on issues and also allow officers to gain feedback from PTRs about issues in their area.

Meetings are held virtually via Microsoft Teams. In line with the county council’s desire to reduce travel for meetings. It is unlikely that this approach will change in the near future.

The meetings include updates on local bus services, community transport and school transport provision, with usually two presentations from internal or external invitees.

The main meeting is followed by a specific surgery-style session where PTRs can raise issues related to their individual parishes.

The role of the PTR

As a PTR you will be able to help identify, raise, discuss and address the transport needs of your community. 

Here are some of the ways you can contribute, and make a difference:

  • Get to know your local services.  This means understanding your local bus and train services. Who uses them, and what for? Who relies on them and has no other means of transport?  Who are your local operators?  You should also get to know any local community transport facilities such as local minibus or car schemes, whether these are formal or informal. 
  • Make yourself known. Tell local residents that you’re the local transport representative so that when people have a transport issue they know that you are the first port of call.
    Ask the parish or town clerk to make public transport a regular item on council meeting agendas, and talk to people working in the community such as an Age Concern Local Link worker or your GP receptionist.
  • Publicise local transport information.  Awareness of public transport affects use. Make sure that your community knows what the options are to help services remain sustainable.  Parish transport representatives can help to check that timetables are updated and report damage or vandalism or suggest new places at which to display public transport information in the parish. 
  • Carry out a transport needs survey.  A transport needs survey can provide very specific information on the needs of residents in the community.  Your parish/town council or parish meeting can seek support with a survey from Community First Oxfordshire and/or officers from the county council.  Findings can be used to support any proposals which you may be recommending (for example, the creation of a community transport scheme).  If you represent a very large village or town, you may not be able to survey the whole community as the resources required may be too great. However, you may be able to cover a particular geographical area or carry out a survey of a particular group within the town (for example by conducting a survey at a lunch club, or of the local youth group).You can also conduct an online poll or a basic online survey on the parish website to get a sense of the community’s appetite for alternative transport. The county council’s Public Transport team and Community First Oxfordshire can provide support with transport needs consultations.
  • Monitor services.  PTRs can provide vital information to Oxfordshire County Council about how local services are functioning.    If your bus service is commercially operated, you may also be able to exert pressure on the bus company directly in the event of any issues.
  • Represent the needs of your community to the county council.  Regular PTR meetings provide a great opportunity to speak to officers on public transport matters, but you can also contact them as and when an issue arises within your community. The council’s transport strategy (known as the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan or LTCP) sets out its long-term vision for transport in the county; as a PTR you can play a part in its development and implementation.
  • Set up a community transport scheme.  It may be that the lives of those in your community could be enhanced by access to a community transport scheme (mostly alongside public transport services).  Could you be the catalyst for one of these valuable enterprises within your community?
  • Instigate infrastructure improvements.  You can play a part in introducing improved facilities for bus users, perhaps by encouraging your parish council to investigate the provision of a new bus shelter.  You may also think that there is a need for better cycling facilities (e.g cycle paths or bicycle racks), or that there are issues that need addressing which impact walking access to your local bus stop, for example.  You can also audit and report issues with local infrastructure to the County Council.
  • Liaise with your parish council and report to them on transport matters.  You can be a vital source of information and encourage your local council to take action where appropriate.

Find out more

As a PTR you are a vital link between your community and the range of organisations and individuals involved in transport provision in the county. To find out more about becoming a PTR, contact