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Community Transport Services Within Rural Sussex

At the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held 24th May, two of our guest speakers were Janet Stead, Development Coordinator, and Mark Collins, Fleet Manager from Community Transport Services. They gave a very interesting talk on the community transport service that they provide – this is their story:


Community Transport Sussex was formed on 1st of October 2016, when Crawley Community Transport, Bluebird Community Partnership and Horsham District Community Transport all merged.


As a charity we cover Horsham, Crawley, Mid Sussex, including Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, and the surrounding areas. Also, in the last few years we recently welcomed the Dial-a-Ride Southern Services as a new member, which includes the districts of Adur and Worthing and in Jan 2023 we opened a depot in the Bognor Regis area.This means we are covering most of the county of West Sussex, and our Head Office is based in North Chailey.


We also work closely with our friends in other local community transport providers and are happy to help them because there is always a need.


As you can imagine It hasn’t been an easy journey and like many transport providers, we had to navigate COVID which saw many unable to function and stop operating all together. We were one of the lucky ones as we picked up school contracts taking SEND ( Special educational needs) children to and from school which helped all our depots and this continues.


Our aim has always been to combat loneliness and isolation by helping local people who struggle to access public transport due to age, disability, or lack of safe or adequate public services in their area.


CT Sussex carries out more than 10,000 passenger journeys a month. Registration with us is free and allows you to use the service as needed, depending on driver and vehicle availability, the more notice you give us the better we can plan ahead.


We cover things like medical appointments, Covid vaccines (for NHS East and West Sussex), trips to day care centres/ garden centres even the local pub.

We also plan and organise our own excursions, which can be via funding availability or grants. And are happy to facilitate group excursions. Our average return fare is approximately £9 depending on distance.


CT Sussex has recently helped in the formation of Arun Community Transport, which rose from the ashes after the old Arun group folded in August 2018. Arun CT have become associate members of CT Sussex, maintaining their independence but being able to come to CT Sussex for occasional support and help with compliance and training. The Amberley and Slinfold Community Bus has also joined as an associate member in June 2019.


CT Sussex is also facilitating new CT networks in the districts of Horsham and Adur/Worthing and has been asked to do the same in the Chichester area.


We are working with West Sussex County Council and local primary care networks including social prescribers, developing a project across Health and social care to help as many residents as possible to be able to access vital medical appointments, social care deliveries and facilitate any other journey which contributes to the improved health and wellbeing of those individuals. To give an example, during COVID and beyond we worked in partnership with the NHS to transport passengers for their covid vaccines and were asked to run a call centre for the whole of East & West Sussex


Having grown from 1 small Dial-a-Ride charity with 2 minibuses, CT Sussex now runs 50 plus vehicles from our 7 depots for itself and other community groups, making a substantial, positive impact to the lives of thousands.


One of our latest projects is the Henfield Electric Community Car Club which allows villagers to hire a car they can either drive themselves or volunteer their time to drive non-driving members. This is a community-led project which we support and is a great opportunity for families who can’t afford a second vehicle. We also have a wheelchair accessible vehicle, bringing the whole community together.


One lovely story over the Christmas period was that a family hired a car to visit other family members in Oxford who they hadn’t seen for a number of years.


Membership is required for this project and volunteer drivers undergo a short training session to familiarise themselves with an electric vehicle. The cost of the hire is £5 per hour.


The project started in September 23 and currently has 55 members and 11 volunteer drivers, due to its success, we would like to mirror this in other areas.


In 2024, UK car owners are spending over £3,800 annually to run their cars each year. Owning an electric car in the UK costs approximately £50,873 which includes a diverse range of models from affordable options to top- tier luxury vehicles, but it’s a cost many households can’t afford.


Chailey Parish Council have kindly put a transport survey on their website, which helps us demonstrate evidence of need and we would love the opportunity of working with the Council in the future, so please do fill in by going to the Chailey Parish Council website, and clicking on the link