In 2021, we commissioned a report from Collaborate Research, to understand disabled people’s experience of community transport.
The research found that for some people, community transport was 'life-changing' - making a significant difference to their mental health, wellbeing and independence.
This report focuses on findings from the qualitative research conducted between June and August 2021, including interviews with community transport users and non-users in Halton, a suburban area on the border of Merseyside and Cheshire, and rural West Sussex.
Community transport makes a big difference
Overall, having access to community transport has reportedly made a big difference to its users, which for some can be described as 'life-changing'.
For example, community transport also alleviates loneliness and improves mental health and wellbeing, including by getting people to the social activities that are important to them as well as by facilitating valuable social connections (with the driver and other passengers) during the journey itself.
In addition, having access to community transport reduces users’ reliance on others, such as family members, and helps to maintain their independence.
Stakeholders, including representatives from both local and national organisations and councils, also noted the important befriending role of community transport, describing it as specifically “designed for disability” and person-centred.
What else did we learn about community transport?
The report also showed that those who do not currently use community transport had a lack of suitable local transport, limiting their ability to get around.
This is due to a lack of availability or accessibility, affordability of alternative modes of transport and issues related to the attitudes of drivers or other passengers, and/or a reluctance to be reliant on other people for lifts.
If you would like to find out more about our research into community transport read our full report and watch our video.