Following our original press release on 15th August, Community Transport Sussex, incorporating Bluebird Community Transport (including The Henfield Community Bus and Hurst & Hassocks Community Bus), Horsham District Community Transport and Crawley Community Transport, are pleased to announce that it will be resuming all its Dial-a Ride and selected other services by the 29th August. The temporary suspension of services was due to a re-interpretation of the national guidance under which community transport operators run, issued by the Department of Transport, as laid out in their letter issued on 31st July.
This letter and the differing guidance from the DfT, DVLA, DVSA and the traffic commissioner, led us to the view that Community Transport Sussex may not be compliant with legislation regarding the permits under which we operate. As such we could not be confident that our insurance cover was valid, until we had clarification about the new interpretation of this national guidance.
It has taken some days to do this but, after working with closely with WSCC, we now have that clarification and can recommence most of our services
We did not take the decision to suspend our services lightly but could not, in good faith, send out our drivers and vehicles to carry passengers, when we could not be sure that the drivers were correctly licenced and the vehicles adequately insured.
The interpretation of guidance under which we run has been accepted by the DfT, local authorities and other statutory bodies since it was first issued in 1985. The sudden re-interpretation of the guidance has taken the entire Community Transport sector by surprise and created an enormous problem for operators across the UK.
Community Transport Sussex looks forward to contacting all of our service users and groups over the coming weeks and transporting them on a regular basis again very soon.
We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused to our members but we had to ensure that we were compliant before we resumed our operations.
The Community Transport Association has created a petition to lobby government to support community transport across the country. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-community-transport?time=1502799844
If you can sign it to show your support for community transport that would be greatly appreciated.