Community Transport inquiry launched.(UK GOV..Transport Select Committee)

The Transport Committee is launching a new inquiry into the licensing arrangements for community transport minibuses and the broader sustainability of the community transport sector, which provides essential access to transport to many vulnerable and potentially isolated people.

Inquiry background

Community transport operators range from small community groups with a single vehicle to large community transport organisations (CTOs), whose sole purpose is the provision of transport services, often delivered through competitively tendered contracts with local authorities. Services include school, hospital and residential care transport, dial-a-ride services for disabled people, and rural, non-commercially viable community minibuses.

The outcome of a recent Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) investigation into the licensing arrangements of an individual CTO, and the Department for Transport’s (DfT) response, indicates a new approach to the longstanding arrangements for the licensing of CTOs and their drivers, with potentially significant effects on the sector.

Submit your views

The Transport Committee calls for written evidence from interested stakeholders—including users of community transport; CTOs; commercial operators and their representative organisations; local authorities; and Traffic Commissioners—addressing one or more of the following terms of reference:

  • The effectiveness of the DfT, DVSA and Traffic Commissioners’ guidance to, and regulation of, community transport: in particular, the DfT’s role in providing clarity to the sector about the implications of EU Regulation EC 1071/2009 and the July 2017 outcome of a relevant DVSA licensing investigation of an individual CTO
  • The effects on commercial operators of the longstanding approach of licensing community transport services via Section 19 and/or 22 permits (Transport Act 1985)
  • The safety, security and service quality implications of licensing community transport services via such permits
  • The potential effects in the short and longer term on different types of CTOs, and the people who rely on their services, of a move away from permits towards PSV operator and PCV driver certificates and licences
  • Suggested approaches to the funding, commissioning and licensing of community transport in the short and longer term, to ensure community transport services, particularly for vulnerable and potentially isolated people, can be safely maintained in a sustainable and value-for-money way

Submit your views through our Community Transport inquiry page. Deadline for written submissions is Friday 3 November 2017.

Chair’s comment

Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport Committee, said:

“Many people rely on community transport services to access healthcare, education, employment and leisure. These include people with disabilities and people in isolated rural areas, which are poorly served by conventional, commercial services.

Our inquiry, in response to recent interpretations of the licensing rules, will take a balanced look at the community transport sector, including how to ensure a level playing field for competitively tendered contracts, where appropriate. Ultimately our concern is that socially valuable community transport services are protected and remain sustainable in the long term.”