Suffolk: ‘Action must be taken to stop transport poverty’
Community transport operators can play a massive part in reducing the number of people at risk of ‘transport poverty’ but only if the sector receives wide scale support, it has been warned.
Susannah Waters, Chief Executive of Suffolk Community Transport (SCT) - an organisation that champions sustainable travel, says statutory bodies and businesses need to do more to support their local community transport operators.
Ms Waters has spoken out after the charity Sustrans, last week warned the number of people in Suffolk whose life is blighted by transport poverty is set to increase due to a lack of access to cars and public transport, particularly in rural areas. She said: “The recent announcement by Sustrans underlines something we have been saying for a while now, that people in Suffolk suffer a real risk of isolation and an adverse impact on their lives through having inadequate access to transport. However, many of these gaps in service provision can be filled by community transport operators who offer a wide range of services to a wide community demographic. The issue for community transport operators is they are nearly exclusively voluntary groups, with very limited budgets and a facing a high demand for their services.”
Ms Waters said to ensure community transport operators can combat isolation they need support, including from businesses. She added that the SCT are particularly concerned about transport for young people and adults to jobs or training. The group, which represents individual community transport groups across the county, including those in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Sudbury are now working with Local Enterprise Partnerships to see how they can ease the problem. To support a local community transport group email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.suffolkcommunitytransport.org.uk