In Parliament this week I raised concerns about proposed UK Government changes to community transport.
The UK Government is currently consulting on a change to legislation which would mean organisations that deliver community transport as their main occupation may need to deliver their services under a commercial operator’s licence in future. It is also suggested that some drivers would also need to obtain a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.
At Welsh Questions this week I said “Community transport operators in Wales have many valuable functions, including helping isolated people get to the shops, doctors, friends and family. They will be very, very hard hit by government changes which will mean extra licensing and certification. The Community Transport Association say this could affect 95% of operators in Wales, so what will the Minister do with the Department for Transport to help them listen and make changes?”
The UK’s community transport permit system was established to enable vital services to meet the needs that bus companies can’t always meet. The excellent Grass Routes service which operates in Monmouthshire in the east of my constituency is a great example of this.
There are big questions about who will actually benefit from the changes the UK Government are suggesting, when this could pile enormous costs on not-for-profit organisations, putting many at risk. It’s important that the UK Government focuses on how it gets this right so that these vital services can continue to deliver for our communities.
Figures from the Community Transport Association Wales show that 140,000 individuals and 3,500 groups are registered to use community transport in Wales. These services deliver approximately 2 million passenger journeys per year, travelling 6 million miles. The sector is predominantly volunteer-led, with nearly 2,000 volunteers giving their time freely to ensure services can be delivered. This contribution is worth £1.5m to the Welsh economy.
In Parliament this week I raised concerns about proposed UK Government changes to community transport. The UK Government is currently consulting on a change to legislation which would mean organisations...