The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Community Transport was established this month as a forum for parliamentarians to demonstrate and celebrate the value of community transport and to learn about the experiences of community transport charities and their service users in shaping public policy where improved accessibility and mobility would be of benefit.
In recent months we have seen the profile of community transport raised in Parliament as MPs and Peers have been concerned about planned changes to how the sector is regulated by the Department for Transport.
Seeing how strongly MPs and Peers feel about their local charities has been heartening and has led to us creating a forum that can build on and coordinate this increased level of interest and awareness.
The aim will be to provide a forum where MPs and Peers can consider the diverse and distinct ways community transport contributes to solving problems within transport and thinking more broadly about its relevance to wider public policy issues such as loneliness and isolation, reducing delayed transfers and no-shows in hospitals and supporting local economic well-being in small town and villages.
This will come through events and activities that enable MPs and Peers to interact with community transport charities and their service-users to learn from their everyday experiences, needs and aspirations.
The first meeting took place on 12 March with the following Members of Parliament and Peers in attendance:
- Robert Courts MP, Conservative (Chair)
- Lilian Greenwood MP, Labour (Officer)
- Bill Grant MP, Conservative (Treasurer)
- Maggie Throup MP, Conservative (Secretary)
- Crispin Blunt MP, Conservative
- Baroness Randerson, Liberal Democrat
Robert Courts MP for Witney was elected chair of the APPG and opened the first meeting by talking about the enormous impact that local community transport providers have in his constituency. He discussed how the role of the APPG is to raise awareness of community transport as a cross-party group, the group is also pushing for a Westminster Hall debate.
If you would like your Member of Parliament to get involved in the APPG make sure you get in touch with them to make them aware of the group and how important your services are to your passengers. You can find your local MP here.
You can also follow the group on Twitter @APPGCT