ECT Charity provides door-to-door journeys for people unable to use mainstream public transport due to mobility or other difficulties, or because ordinary public transport or other services have been withdrawn from their area.
People can use door-to-door transport for a wide variety of reasons, such as shopping, attending luncheon clubs or healthcare appointments, visiting friends and family, and going on organised day-trips to local attractions.
The UK’s population is steadily ageing. The latest projections are for 5.5 million more older people in 20 years’ time and that that number will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050. Within this total, the number of very old people grows even faster: there are currently 3 million people aged over 80 and this is projected to almost double by 2030 and reach 8 million by 20501.
Many older people are vulnerable to social isolation due to loss of mobility, friends and family, and even income. “Social isolation” and “loneliness” are often used interchangeably, but it is important to note that they are not one and the same. “Loneliness” is subjective – an unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. On the other hand, “social isolation” is the objective absence or paucity of contacts and interactions between an older person and a social network.
Researchers from University College London found that both social isolation and loneliness had a detrimental impact on a person’s quality of life and well-being. Further, they found that social isolation particularly, is associated with increased risk of health problems and mortality in older people. This negative impact on health leads to an increased demand from health and social care systems.
ECT Charity is able to address the needs of older people and other groups, as for many, mainstream public transport can be frightening or inaccessible.
In a time of extensive cuts in public spending and a growing population of socially isolated older people, ECT Charity’s door-to-door accessible transport service for individuals represents a major impact on society. By enabling older people to venture out of their homes to attend social events, go shopping and visit family and friends, ECT Charity helps reduce social isolation (and in turn, health problems and mortality). Not only does ECT Charity contribute directly to members of society, but it also alleviates the pressure on the health and social care systems.
Our Group Transport service is available for voluntary and community organisations including charities, community groups and schools. We enable groups to book a minibus for their own use. You can travel anywhere in the UK, on any day of the week.
We can provide your group with a professional, uniformed driver who has received MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) and first aid training, and has been cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), previously Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
Alternatively, your group can nominate a volunteer to drive instead (provided that the driver has received MiDAS training, either from the training courses we provide or from elsewhere).
The Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) is a nationally-recognised standard, administered by the Community Transport Association, which provides for the assessment and training of minibus drivers. It has been designed to enhance minibus driving standards and promote the safer operation of minibuses.
Our in-house, MiDAS-accredited Driver Assessor Trainers provide classroom-based theory training, as well as an on-road driving assessment.
Drivers who will be transporting passengers with disabilities, including wheelchair users, will undertake a further training module, which cover topics including passenger assistance, disability awareness and the use of wheelchair accessible vehicles and equipment.
For further information on the MiDAS scheme, please click here.
Our MiDAS training courses are available to those:
All drivers listed above, whether employed or volunteering, will undergo the same MiDAS training.
To be eligible to take our MiDAS training, you must:
If you are interested in becoming one of our drivers, please check our job opportunities here. Alternatively, if you would like to become one of our drivers, please contact us for further information.
In both of these cases, we will provide you with training after you have applied. You do need to book MiDAS training before applying.
Please note that unless you are able to meet the criteria in the list above, you will not be eligible to undertake our MIDAS training.
ECT Charity provides MiDAS training from its depots in Dorset, Cheshire and Ealing, London. Click here for more information on our locations.
For further information on timings and prices, please email us at:
Passenger Assistants are those whose role it is to provide care and assistance to passengers travelling on the road, whether in minibuses, cars, taxis or large buses.
The Passenger Assistant Training Scheme (PATS) is a nationally-recognised standard, administered by the Community Transport Association, which provides for the training Passenger Assistants.
For further information on the PATS scheme, please click here.
We provide PATS training to those:
Our employed Passenger Assistants and volunteer Passenger Assistants both receive the same PATS training.
If you are interested in becoming one of our Passenger Assistants, please check our job opportunities here. Alternatively, if you would like to become one of our Passenger Assistants, please contact us for further information.
ECT Charity works with local authorities to provide services such as special educational needs transport, trips to and from day centres, local bus services, health and other door-to-door transport for older, disabled and isolated individuals.
These community transport services provide a variety of solutions fulfilling statutory requirements and other social needs.
ECT Charity enters into contracts if in doing so it:
The idea that businesses can create social and environmental returns alongside financial returns has been gathering increasing interest. This shift in thinking is exemplified by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 which came into force in January 2013 and obliges all public bodies in England and Wales to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.
Not only do we achieve social impact through our services for individuals and groups, but the vehicles remain in the community as an asset. When a Local Authority procures its home-to-school transport services (including for children with special educational needs), we ensure that we maximise the use of our vehicles by using them during the day for our individual door-to-door transport services (such as transporting socially isolated old people to and from luncheon clubs and healthcare appointments) and during the weekends for use by voluntary and community sector groups.
Whilst the financial downturn catalysed the move towards social value commissioning, it has also meant that commissioners have suffered significant cuts to their budgets. As such, commissioners are under pressure to procure the required services but with fewer resources. Whereas some transport operators may choose to compromise on quality to lower their prices in order to secure a contract, we are firmly dedicated to maintaining our high quality and safety standards as a priority. We never compromise on that. Instead of taking a simplistic and reactionist approach to the changing climate, we have taken a holistic view and aim to work with commissioners to facilitate “integrated care” in the communities in which we serve.
An integrated healthcare system is one which puts the focus back on the patient with the aim to minimise fragmentation in patient services and instead provide efficient, coordinated and continuous care. ECT Charity and community transport play a crucial role in facilitating this transition.
Not only do we contribute to the NHS’s drive for an increasingly integrated approach to healthcare, we also contribute to deferring and reducing the need for healthcare of older people.
For instance, our door-to-door transport service can help an 80 year old lady maintain her independence by going to the shops and visiting friends. If it were not for our service, she would remain socially isolated at home which would contribute to the deterioration of her psychological and physical wellbeing. It is well known that socially isolated older people make far more calls to their GPs than those who lead a more socially active lifestyle.
Standard MiDAS Course (Module 1 & 2): This course is taught in two parts: the classroom session, and the driving assessment. During the classroom session you will receive training on a number of topics, including the role of the driver. You will also receive a theory paper to check your understanding of the topics delivered. The classroom session does not allow enough time for driving assessment to be done on the same day, and so it must be completed at a mutually agreed date and time. The driving assessment takes about two hours per person, and it has to be done individually.
Accessible MiDAS Course (Module 3): This additional accessible module will include classroom training, a practical skills assessment (where you will be assessed on your ability to use a passenger lift or ramp, and secure a wheelchair user in a minibus), as well as practical demonstrations on how to assist passengers who have walking difficulties, and have a sight or hearing loss. You will also answer additional theory paper questions to check your understanding of the topics delivered.
Refresher (Standard MiDAS) and Refresher (Accessible MiDAS): The Community Transport Associated recommends that you attend refresher training before your MiDAS certificate expires. This training will review the material covered in the original training, as well as provide up-to-date information on equipment, minibuses, the law and safe practice.
PATs Course: This course will include classroom training, a written assessment and a practical skills assessment. The course will cover the following modules:
PATs Refresher: The Community Transport Association recommends that you attend refresher training before your PATs certificate expires. This training will review the material covered in the original training, as well as provide up-to-date information on the legal, practical and safety issues surrounding the passenger assistant role.
Please be aware that to drive a minibus in the UK, and as part of the MiDAS training, you must:
Unless you are able to meet all of these conditions, you will not be eligible to undertake MiDAS training.
Ealing Community Transport, Greenford Depot, Greenford Road, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9AP.
Please note that due to the current COVID-19 crisis, all training has been cancelled until further notice.
Type of Training
Standard MiDAS (Modules 1 & 2)
Accessible MiDAS (Module 3)
Refresher (Standard MiDAS)
Refresher (Accessible MiDAS)
Passenger Assistant Training (PATs)
Please contact us for more info
Please contact us for more info
Please note that discounts are available for groups of five and above. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Please contact us at email@example.com in order to book. Alternatively, please call 020 8813 3210.
If you are a member of ECT’s Group Transport Services, the person in your organisation who usually books the transport, pays the invoices, or acts as group leader (“Main Contact”) must authorise your attendance.
If you are the Main Contact, please note that we must receive an email from you confirming the attendance of the driver(s) prior to training. Further, please ensure they are familiar with the requirements for undertaking MiDAS training (listed at paragraph 2 above), and provide them with a copy of this document.
For the MiDAS course, you are required to produce your driving licence and your National Insurance number at the classroom theory session.
Please be advised that parking is not available on site, however there is parking available on the Greenford Road.
Tea, coffee and water will be provided. A vending machine with snacks is also available.
If you attend a morning course, you are advised to bring a packed lunch as there are no facilities available on site.
WHO CAN USE GROUP TRANSPORT? The service is only available to community and statutory groups who are registered, fully paid members with ECT. Community groups are defined as voluntarily set up organisations working within the community (e.g. clubs, associations, charities). Statutory groups are publicly funded bodies (e.g. schools, day centres, local council departments, health authorities). Membership is renewable annually.
WHO CAN MAKE A BOOKING? Bookings will only be accepted from authorised persons registered with ECT. The Main Contact or Treasurer of the Group must notify ECT of any changes to their authorised persons in writing, preferably by email. It is the Group’s responsibility to ensure Group and driver information is up-to-date.
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I DRIVE? Minibuses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be driven anywhere in the UK.
WHO CAN DRIVE? The minibus can only be driven by a person who has received full training from ECT and is in possession of a valid ECT photocard ID and MiDAS certificate. The Group must notify ECT of their nominated driver at least 24 hours in advance of minibus collection. Nominated drivers from a Group are deemed to be acting in a voluntary capacity and must perform this in accordance with ECT’s Role Description: Group Transport Volunteer Driver.
WHAT IF WE CAN’T PROVIDE OUR OWN DRIVER? ECT can provide fully trained, DBS checked drivers to drive for group transport bookings. If notified at the time of booking, ECT drivers are available to assist passengers in their transport requirements throughout the day (e.g. pushing wheelchairs), excluding legally required breaks. Please note, they are not trained as carers and will not be able to assist with e.g. toilet breaks.
INCIDENTS, ACCIDENTS & BREAKDOWN If the Group has an accident, incident or breakdown Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm, ECT should be contacted on 020 8813 3210. At any other time please call the Emergency Breakdown line on 0751 55 5050.
COLLECTION AND RETURN
FUEL & REFUELLING ECT meets the costs of all fuelling. Minibuses are provided with an Allstar fuel card to cover the cost of refuelling. ECT will not reimburse cash payments. Drivers must ensure that the garage accepts Allstar fuel cards prior to filling up. All ECT minibuses are and minibuses must be returned with at least half a tank of fuel.
USE OF A MINIBUS ECT minibuses must be driven in accordance with all applicable road traffic laws and regulations. The Group will be liable for any Penalty Charge Notices or other charges which arise as a result of a failure to do so. This includes any penalties for driving a non-compliant minibus in the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) if ECT is not advised at the time of booking that the booking would involve entering the ULEZ. The Group must also:
CANCELLATIONS You may cancel up to 48 hours before the minibus collection time without incurring a fee. Fees for late cancellations or no-shows are outlined in ECT’s Group Transport Summary of Charges.
FEES AND CHARGES These are outlined in ECT’s Group Transport Summary of Charges. Invoices are sent at the end of each month and payment is due within 30 days.
MINIBUS DAMAGE COST RECOVERY POLICY Up to £350 excess is payable by the Group if a driver provided by the Group is responsible for at fault accidents/incidents. This includes incorrect fuelling, interior/exterior damage and flat batteries (as a result of not switching off the radio/lights).
LIABILITY ECT is not liable for any consequential loss, financial or otherwise, incurred by the Group, its drivers or passengers following the non-availability, failure to provide, theft, breakdown or loss, of a minibus.
|Statutory Group||Community Group|
|New Membership & Annual Renewal||£25||£5|
|Statutory Group||Community Group|
|Session/Daily Charge (includes 15 free miles)||£70||£35|
|Each mile after 15 miles||£0.95||£0.95|
|Cancellation (less than 48 hours’ notice)||£50||£25|
|No shows (for each day booked)||£70||£35|
|Late return of vehicle||£15 per hour||£15 per hour|
|Cleaning Charges||Statutory Group||Community Group|
|Vehicle returned which needs to be swept out||£35||£35|
|Vehicle returned which needs interior valet||£60||£60|
|[Note that a deposit may be required]|
|Driver Charges||Statutory Group||Community Group|
|ECT Professional Driver||£18 per hour||£15 per hour|
|ECT Passenger Assistant (PA)||£14.50 per hour||£11.50 per hour|
|Cancellation (less than 24 hours’ notice) [This charge is in addition to the abovementioned charge “Cancellation (less than 48 hours’ notice)”]||3hr charge per driver and/or PA||3hr charge per driver and/or PA|
|DBS Enhanced Disclosures|
|Admin fee of £10 per form (for both Statutory Groups and Community Groups)|
|Vehicle Damage Cost Recovery|
|Up to £350 excess is payable by Groups where volunteer drivers are responsible for at fault accidents/incidents. This includes incorrect fuelling, interior/exterior damage and flat batteries (as a result of not switching off radio/lights).|
If you want to travel the day after a Bank Holiday Monday, please refer to our booking considerations here (scroll down to “Does PlusBus run on Bank Holidays? What happens over Christmas?”).