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13 August 2020: Community TransportA screenshot of a Zoom meeting with a screen being shared

Today we were addressed by Clair Dade of Chelmsford Community Transport, which we have pledged to support for five years. They have a fleet of eight wheelchair-accessible minibuses providing transport throughout Chelmsford’s parishes for those who need them, particularly the disabled or vulnerable. A door-to-door service can be provided for those with disabilities.

Unfortunately the Covid-19 restrictions have reduced the numbers able to use a single minibus at any one time from fourteen to four. Each minibus must be cleaned between passengers and they all receive a deep clean overnight. Drivers and passengers must wear face coverings.

In normal times there would also be a team of 19 volunteer drivers able to provide trips by car, eg to medical appointments. These have been stopped owing to the need to clean the cars each time. Some of the drivers are themselves vulnerable.

However, drivers have been able to help by getting users’ shopping for them. Users pay for their shopping but there are no other charges.

Passenger numbers have increase since shielding was suspended on 1 August. Users are being cautious but keen to return to their usual routines. New users are signing up. Bus passes are accepted on the minibuses.