EU Regulations impacting on the vulnerable

In response to the DfT (Department for Transport) national consultation on the licensing of community transport to complying with EU regulations, DCC (Devon County Council) has stated how the proposals could affect the county’s passenger and community transport operators.

If he proposals are introduced, voluntary and community transport groups will either have to achieve full commercial licensing standards or meet certain restrictions to gain exemption from EU rules. DCC says this could bring significant additional costs to the sector and may make it uneconomical for some groups to continue in its operation. It has warned that the reduction in community transport services may increase the amount of public spending required to maintain essential transport services for vulnerable people.

This would affect people like the elderly and disabled and those in isolated areas without access to public transport. A reduction in community transport services could put more pressure on statutory services, particularly social care and the national health service.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s cabinet member who has the responsibility for community transport, said:

“The future of essential community transport services is at stake, which it is why it is so important that we lobby the Government on these issues. Many community transport groups are already struggling to replace retiring volunteers, and additional licensing requirements are likely to result in more volunteers leaving the schemes. A smaller pool of qualified drivers could result in marginal services being withdrawn and vulnerable passengers losing out. In Devon there is already a local shortage of Passenger Carrying Vehicle drivers for commercial operators.”

Community transport schemes which Devon County Council helps to support includes TRIP Community Transport Association in Honiton, Exmouth and District Community Transport Group and Axe Valley Ring and Ride.

Read more of our latest news.