Woking Community Transport

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Woking Community Transport's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Woking Community Transport is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.wokingbustler.org.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | VIVACITY CULTURE & LEISURE TRUST
change and providing renewed
leadership, alongside supportive
changes to governance arrangements
that helped shape a future vision
and the skills required to deliver it by
working with our current partners
and forging new community and
commercial relationships.
This rapid change was only going to
be successful if we engaged across
the whole organisation to design and
deliver a new way of working. So,
that’s what we did.
With a dedicated focus on being
much more joined up and working
collaboratively, the green shoots of hope
are emerging, illustrating how great the
future could become for us and the city.
Critically, transformation involves
strong partnership working around
a shared vision. A new strategic
alignment was required to reorientate
our collective ways of working to lay
the foundations to support a city-
wide partnership that demonstrates a
collective effort that benefits everyone.
Optimism for the future
Our initial efforts provide some
measured optimism for the future. The
passion for Peterborough’s cultural,
sport and leisure offer is abundantly
clear across the city and we have seen
some great successes so far.
An example of this is the “Treasures”
exhibition at the museum, the most
important exhibition ever held in the
city. For the first time in Peterborough’s
history, this exhibition brought together
the area’s most important historical
pieces including the Water Newton
silver lent by the British Museum and
the Becket Casket from the V&A.
This year we will also help to lead
Peterborough’s year of reading. Illiteracy
is an issue in the city but there are lots
of exciting things in the pipeline to help
tackle that. Working in partnership with
multiple stakeholders shows how we
can support the education system, so
we’re building stronger connections
across schools,too.
We now know we need to continually
adapt to changing external factors and
maintain a focus on our ultimate aim.
We strongly believe that arts, culture,
sport and leisure are important
parts of providing a sense of place
and act as “social glue” for society.
This belief remains core to our
overarchingmission.
We strongly
believe that
arts, culture,
sport and
leisure are
important
parts of
providing a
sense of place
and act as
“social glue”
forsociety
Vivacity’s services include
sports and wellbeing
facilities
27WOKING COMMUNITY TRANSPORT |
COMMUNITY
Managing Director
GuyPadfield-Wilkins
Bustler is working
for Woking
Founded in 1991, Woking Community Transport, or
Bustler as it’s better known, operates as a not-for-profit
organisation for the benefit of the local community.
Registered as a society in 2014, it provides accessible door-
to-door transport to those who would otherwise be socially
excluded because of poverty, disability or age. Managing
Director Guy Padfield-Wilkins tells
The Parliamentary Review
that WCT operates a number of services on behalf of Woking
Borough Council, Surrey County Council and its ownmembers.
Completing over 100,000 journeys every year, our core services enable social
inclusion, and include dial-a-ride, centres for community transport, home-to-school
and special needs centre transport. We also work with the NHS and ambulance
trusts to provide hospital support.
Investing in our services
Our dial-a-ride service, transporting residents of Woking Borough with reduced
mobility from door to door, has been, and always will be, a core part of what we
do. Investment in recent years has included new on-board vehicle technology,
which contributes to passenger safety, and multiple new vehicle purchases, which
have included low-floor variants, providing easier access for our customers.
Both dial-a-ride membership and journey numbers have grown year on year.
Membership is on target to surpass 3,000 by the end of 2019, and is expected
to continue to increase as a result of local need and an aging population. Unlike
some other borough dial-a-ride schemes, we continue to offer membership to
FACTS ABOUT
WOKING COMMUNITY
TRANSPORT
»Managing Director:
GuyPadfield-Wilkins
»Established in 1991
»Based in Woking
»Services: Community transport
»No. of employees: Around 100
Woking Community
Transport
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | WOKING COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
our customers free of charge. Our
minibuses are specially adapted to
cater for people with disabilities,
including wheelchair and assistance
dog users. Importantly, customers do
not have to be disabled in order to
use the service, which is available to
all, regardless of their age or mobility
difficulty. If extra assistance is needed,
an escort may also travel for free.
Core services at the heart of
the community
In addition to dial-a-ride, our core
work includes two other services:
»Group transport: Our minibuses are
available for use by all community
groups on an hourly, daily or weekly
basis. Groups can use their own driver
– subject to checks and a driving
assessment – or WCT can provide a
driver. This service is used by many
local organisations and community
groups including schools, sports
teams and residential care homes.
»Town centre buggy: The Woking
town centre buggy transports people
who have difficulty in walking
anywhere within the pedestrianised
area of Woking town centre for free.
Operating for over 20 years, the buggy
transports around 3,000 passengers
per year and has operated throughout
numerous changes to the town centre.
We provide a reliable, personal and
friendly service designed to help
customers enjoy greater freedom and
independence. All our drivers are fully
trained to ensure that every journey
is as comfortable and straightforward
aspossible.
Operating local contracts has enabled
us to increase our fleet size, which in
turn has increased overall passenger
numbers. Contracted vehicles are
typically only used for a couple of hours
in the morning and a couple of hours
in the afternoon. They are, therefore,
available with or without a driver for
community use during the middle part
of the day. Many local groups have
benefited from this arrangement.
Contracted work with Surrey County
Council includes SEND home-to-school,
adult and children centre transport and
adult social services.
Being diverse in the face of
challenges
Section 19 permits may be granted
to organisations that operate
vehicles without a view to profit
when transporting their members.
The recent controversy surrounding
operating contracts on such permits,
and conflicting messages from the
Department for Transport, has resulted
in a ban on WCT and other Section
19 permit holders from operating new
SCC contracts via the tender process.
All contracts operated by WCT on behalf
of SCC deliver much-needed transport
for passengers with special educational
needs and disabilities. Contracts are
operated at below commercial rates,
on a full cost recovery basis.
Our diversity has included community
NHS hub services, which has allowed
us to continually increase the work
we undertake on behalf of the NHS
in respect of hospital-related non-
emergency patient transport, by
transporting people who are 75 years
old or over to community hospitalhubs.
Dial-a-ride enabling
social inclusion
We provide a
reliable,
personal and
friendly
service
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | WOKING COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
our customers free of charge. Our
minibuses are specially adapted to
cater for people with disabilities,
including wheelchair and assistance
dog users. Importantly, customers do
not have to be disabled in order to
use the service, which is available to
all, regardless of their age or mobility
difficulty. If extra assistance is needed,
an escort may also travel for free.
Core services at the heart of
the community
In addition to dial-a-ride, our core
work includes two other services:
»Group transport: Our minibuses are
available for use by all community
groups on an hourly, daily or weekly
basis. Groups can use their own driver
– subject to checks and a driving
assessment – or WCT can provide a
driver. This service is used by many
local organisations and community
groups including schools, sports
teams and residential care homes.
»Town centre buggy: The Woking
town centre buggy transports people
who have difficulty in walking
anywhere within the pedestrianised
area of Woking town centre for free.
Operating for over 20 years, the buggy
transports around 3,000 passengers
per year and has operated throughout
numerous changes to the town centre.
We provide a reliable, personal and
friendly service designed to help
customers enjoy greater freedom and
independence. All our drivers are fully
trained to ensure that every journey
is as comfortable and straightforward
aspossible.
Operating local contracts has enabled
us to increase our fleet size, which in
turn has increased overall passenger
numbers. Contracted vehicles are
typically only used for a couple of hours
in the morning and a couple of hours
in the afternoon. They are, therefore,
available with or without a driver for
community use during the middle part
of the day. Many local groups have
benefited from this arrangement.
Contracted work with Surrey County
Council includes SEND home-to-school,
adult and children centre transport and
adult social services.
Being diverse in the face of
challenges
Section 19 permits may be granted
to organisations that operate
vehicles without a view to profit
when transporting their members.
The recent controversy surrounding
operating contracts on such permits,
and conflicting messages from the
Department for Transport, has resulted
in a ban on WCT and other Section
19 permit holders from operating new
SCC contracts via the tender process.
All contracts operated by WCT on behalf
of SCC deliver much-needed transport
for passengers with special educational
needs and disabilities. Contracts are
operated at below commercial rates,
on a full cost recovery basis.
Our diversity has included community
NHS hub services, which has allowed
us to continually increase the work
we undertake on behalf of the NHS
in respect of hospital-related non-
emergency patient transport, by
transporting people who are 75 years
old or over to community hospitalhubs.
Dial-a-ride enabling
social inclusion
We provide a
reliable,
personal and
friendly
service
29WOKING COMMUNITY TRANSPORT |
COMMUNITY
As a community transport provider,
we go beyond the requirements of
operating on a Section 19 permit. We
hold, for example, the management
Certificate of Professional Competence
in passenger transport and our vehicles
are inspected daily by our drivers and
every ten weeks at our maintenance
facility. Vehicle servicing is carried out
in accordance with the manufacturer’s
recommendations, and passenger lifts
are inspected and tested in accordance
with the Lifting Operations Lifting
Equipment Regulations 1998. Although
our drivers do not hold Certificate of
Professional Competence cards, they
do undergo minibus driver awareness
scheme training, which we feel is more
appropriate for the work they undertake.
Our staff are our most
valuable asset
With almost 100 staff, the majority of
whom have retired from a previous
career, we are providing opportunities
for younger and older people alike.
Drivers and passenger assistants go
through an extensive recruitment
process, which at times has resulted
in us losing potential volunteers as a
result of the time taken. Our stringent
approach, however, ensures that those
who do join us are right for the job.
Our staff are, of course, our most valuable
asset and we do our utmost to reflect
this through training and recruitment.
Following a formal interview, for example,
drivers must provide two references,
complete a security vetting interview
and undergo a DBS check. Additionally,
they partake in a full LGV medical and
safeguarding training, and complete
first aid, MiDAS and manual handling
training. Following this, up to a week is
spent shadowing an experienced driver.
Staff are provided with a full summer
and winter uniform, which ensures
they are easily recognisable to our
customers, while at the same time
displaying a professional image and a
sense of belonging.
The environment and our
future
We operate a large number of vehicles
and are, as such, conscious of our
environmental impact. As a standard
we only purchase new vehicles with
the latest Euro 6 engines – the latest
environmental directive set by the EU to
reduce levels of harmful pollutants – but
plan to take further steps this financial
year by purchasing fully electric vehicles.
This process has been challenging so
far. Electric minibuses, for example,
have limited choice and cost more than
double the diesel equivalent. Our plan
to move to fully electric vehicles has
only become a possibility due to the
support of Woking Borough Council.
Drivers and
passenger
escorts go
through an
extensive
recruitment
process
Providing the Woking
community with garage
services for over 30 years
Our town centre buggy
in action

www.wokingbustler.org.uk

This article was sponsored by Woking Community Transport. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development