As your relative gets older, they can find it more difficult to drive or use public transport, which may put them off getting out and about. These are not the only options for getting from A to B in Essex! There are a fantastic number of community transport schemes in operation across the county, dedicated to helping elderly people get to where they need to go.
Every region of Essex has its own community transport schemes, providing door-to-door, dial-a-ride transport at very affordable rates. For most of these schemes, your relative will need to become a member and then inform the provider of the journey with what they require a few days in advance.
Some of these providers also offer car-share schemes, community buses and minibuses that can be hired for day trips and clubs. Perhaps your relative would want to speak to their friends about organising a day trip to one of our picks for Accessible Days Out in Essex.
Although some community transport schemes can take your relatives to their medical appointments, it shouldn’t be confused with patient transport services. These provide specialist transportation for elderly people who require expert support in getting to and from healthcare appointments and is commissioned by the NHS. If this is what your relative needs then you should look at our guide to Patient Transport Schemes in Essex.
Find a Helper to assist with transport and getting you out and about with Good Life Sorted
Essex-Wide Community Transport Schemes
Essex Car Share Scheme
Provided in a partnership between Essex County Council and Liftshare, the Essex Car Share Scheme can get older people around with the help of those already making journeys around Essex. Your relative and the person driving can then split the cost of the journey. The process is simple:
- Your relative enters the journey that they need to make online, which will use its database to match them with other people travelling that way.
- Once your relative has found someone suitable, they can get in touch and arrange details of how and when to be picked up.
- Once both parties have agreed to the details, all that’s left to do is get in and enjoy the ride.
There are local community groups on the Essex Liftshare website. This means your relative is likely to become acquainted with the people they regularly share with, which they may find comforting.
Community Transport Schemes in North-East Essex
Community360 Transport Services (Colchester & Maldon)
Community360 provides a community transport scheme in Colchester and Maldon. They provide two door-to-door, Dial-a-Ride services for older people, known as Social Car and Book-a-Ride. These services are loosely the same, except ‘Book-a-Ride’ cars are all fully wheelchair accessible.
Their team of dedicated volunteers can help your relative get to both medical and social appointments, including to the hospital, shopping centres and visits to therapy, friends or relatives.
Membership for this service costs £15.00 per year, following which your relative only needs to pay for the volunteer drivers’ mileage expense, at 50p per mile (minimum £3.00 per trip).
They also offer group hire and excursion transport options, which you can read more about on their website
Tendring Community Transport
Tendring Community Transport run a range of services for people living in Tendring.
Their Dial-a-Ride service provides a wheelchair accessible, door-to-door transport option for people based on Tendring. It is free to all older people with a valid bus pass, or has a £4.00 single fare. The service operates Monday to Friday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You or your relative relative can call their team on 01255 436962 to organise a journey.
Tendring Community Transport also runs the Colchester Hospitals Hopper Bus. This Hopper bus route covers Holland-on-Sea, Clacton, Great Clacton, Little Clacton, St. Osyth, Great Bentley Village Hall and Colchester. You can view the full bus timetable through their website. The service is free to people who hold a concessionary bus pass after 9:00am, or charged at £7.00 for a single fare. To use the service, you or your relative can call them on 01255 436962.
They also run a number of Social Car Share schemes that are part-funded by Essex County Council. These assist people to reach lunch clubs, hospitals and GP appointments. You can look on the Car Share page of the Tendring Community Transport website to find out more about the Car Share schemes that may be helpful to your relative. Membership is priced at £25.00 per household, per year.
Community Transport Schemes in Mid-Essex
Braintree Community Transport
The Braintree Dial-a-Ride service and Social Car Scheme are essentially the same, except that the Dial-a-Ride scheme uses vehicles that are specially adapted to be wheelchair-accessible. These schemes can help your relative get to health appointments, local shopping trips, clubs, day centres, social calls and more. Using the services requires a membership joining fee, costing £23.00. Following this, each journey will cost £4.00 for up to five miles and another 80p for each additional mile.
The service operates seven days per week from 8:30am until 5:30pm and journeys must be requested at least 24 hours in advance. You can see more details on each service through the websites listed below, or use the contact details to get in touch.
Chelmsford Community Transport
Chelmsford Community Transport offer a Dial-a-Ride service that provides door-to-door transport by car or minibus for those that can’t use public transport due to age, disability, or rural exclusion. They have a team of volunteers who drive their own cars, plus mini-buses that are all fitted with wheelchair lifts, for those that need them.
They can take you anywhere you need to go within Chelmsford and the surrounding parishes for any reason, from Monday to Friday. You or your relative can call the Chelmsford Community Transport team on 01245 477789, Monday to Friday, from 9:00am to 2:30pm to make a booking.
There is an annual administration cost of £12 per year for individuals and £15 per year for couples or 2 people that share an address.
Community Transport Schemes in West Essex
Epping Forest and Harlow Community Transport
Epping Forest Community Transport provides transport services to people in the Epping Forest and Harlow areas who can’t use, or don’t feel comfortable using public transport.
They offer a door-to-door, Dial-a-Ride service for individuals needing to make journeys. These must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, through calling them on 01992 579556, or using their app (details available on the website). There is a flat fare rate of £2.00 for up to seven miles.
Epping Forest Community Transport also provide dedicated Shopper Buses. These are routes to popular shopping destinations. You can look at the Shopper Bus Timetable to find a route that suits your relative.
Uttlesford Community Transport
Uttlesford Community Transport support older residents, disabled residents and rurally isolated residents in Uttlesford, who find it difficult to access regular public transport.
They offer a Dial-a-Ride service called Book-a-Ride for individual journeys. These can take your relative to medical appointments, shopping trips, to visit friends and more. All of their minibuses are wheelchair accessible.
To use Uttlesford Community Transport services, you will need to fill in this Application Form for membership and pay an initial fee of £10.00. Journeys are then charged at £4.00 for up to two miles and a further £1.20 per mile for longer trips.
Community Transport Schemes in South Essex
Basildon Community Transport Services
Basildon Community Transport Services provides a Dial-a-Ride travel alternative for people that cannot use public transport due to illness, age or rural isolation. Their Minibuses and Volunteer Cars may be used for trips to health appointments, the shops, day centres and seeing friends, covering Billericay, Basildon and Wickford.
Individual memberships cost £12.00 per year, with journeys then priced at £3.50 for up to three miles and an additional 50p per mile for longer trips.
They also operate a community bus route bus route from Afflets Court & Moatfield to Basildon Bus Station.
Wyvern Community Transport (Castle Point and Rochford)
Residents of the Rochford District and Castle Point areas who are in need of transport due to their age or disability can use the services of Wyvern Community Transport. They operate a door-to-door, Dial-a-Ride transport service for local residents, with a fleet of wheelchair-accessible minibuses.
Wyvern Community Transport also have a community (social) car scheme, where volunteer drivers use their own cars to transport older residents to medical appointments only.
A free membership is required to access the services, with journeys priced at £5.00 for up to 3 miles and a further 80p per subsequent mile.
Southend Borough Council provides a dedicated Dial-a-Ride service for people who absolutely cannot use other forms of public transport. The service can be used to go to any destination within the Borough of Southend (excluding day centres and hospital appointments).
Your relative must be a member, which requires meeting one of the following conditions:
- Be in receipt of Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance
- Be registered blind
- Be in receipt of Higher Rate Attendance Allowance (for women aged over 60 and men aged over 65)
- Be in receipt of Mobility Supplement of War Pension
Trans-Vol is a Community Transport Charity who provide safe and affordable, door-to-door transport; utilising Volunteer Drivers who use their own cars to transport elderly and vulnerable residents who may find public transport difficult, within the Thurrock Area.
Their scheme is a Dial-a-Ride service through which volunteer drivers use their own cars to transport residents with no other means of travelling. They also have a fleet of Wheelchair Accessible Minibuses for residents in wheelchairs, but require a week’s notice for journeys. More details on these services can be found on their Service Flyer.
Your relative must be a member in order to use Trans-Vol services, which they can register for here using the Membership Form. There is a yearly £10.00 fee for membership.