West of England Community Transport Network 

Community transport bus

The Community Transport Network is an opportunity to bring together and strengthen the many organisations involved in community transport in the West of England, serving local people and helping them get from A to B. These organisations include community minibuses, community buildings, Shopmobility, neighbourhood groups, volunteer car schemes, and charities working with older people. 

Voscur is working with the West of England Rural Network (WERN) to coordinate the Community Transport Network. We want to make sure we reach rural communities in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, as well as urban communities. 

Why is the Community Transport Network needed?

We know that the physical and mental wellbeing of older people, people with disabilities and those most isolated depend on their ability to remain active and mobile. For example, community transport organisations in the West of England provide over 300,000 journeys to at least 5,000 vulnerable older people each year. 

There are 45 community transport organisations throughout the West of England. Each is faced with a number of significant challenges, including growing customer demand, reduced resources, complex patchwork of services in urban and rural areas, aging vehicles, changing regulations, and clean air zones.

We aim to address these issues with a medium to long-term strategy. Here is the outline of the aim, objectives and outcomes developed so far.


To support the coordination and improvement of community transport services so that this crucial service becomes easier to use and more sustainable.

Key objectives

  • Create more sustainable, agile and passenger-led community transport service. 
  • Increase passengers’ voice.
  • Gain a better understanding of current community needs. 
  • A more cohesive, structured approach.

Strategically, these objectives should lead to:

  • One effective voice that can work with West of England Combined Authority (WECA), the new transport commissioner, and other strategic bodies. 
  • Themed task-and-finish groups will enable community transport organisations to focus on more challenging areas of work - for example, low carbon zones.
  • Coordinated responses to emerging new policies, such as clean air zones, will lead to greater inclusion of small community transport operators and their passengers.
  • Input in technological and policy change, which may marginalise certain communities - for example, mobile phone service access, cashless payments and internet-based information and booking.

As a result, the medium- to long-term improvements to the lives of older people, people with disabilities and isolated people will be:

  • The ability to live independently for longer.
  • Improvement in physical and mental health by keeping active and more mobile.
  • Better access to health and other services.
  • Reduced social isolation and poverty.
  • Improved social life with the ability to build relationships and support.
  • The opportunity to volunteer when possible.
  • Stronger local communities where people have a sense of empowerment.

 Outcomes for community transport organisations

Older group of people with mobility issues

Through this work we aim to achieve the following outcomes for community transport organisations:

  • A better understanding of what local people need.
  • A coordinated response to these needs. 
  • Stronger and more sustainable community transport organisations.
  • A cohesive voice when talking with authorities and funders.

Potential future developments include more effective routes and services, with more cost-effective journeys, and the possibility of social investment.

The Community Transport Network will monitor and evaluate its effectiveness through a steering group that reports to the network, a Passenger Forum, and sharing appropriate findings with the WECA Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Leaders Board.

To talk to Voscur about getting involved in the Community Transport Network, please email Mark Hubbard, Head of Partnerships and Commissioning (mark@voscur.org) or Esther Passingham, Development Officer (esther@voscur.org), or call 0117 909 9949.