Community Transport & Link Schemes

Community First provides an advisory and support service to 42 Link Schemes and 21 Community Minibus Groups across Wiltshire and Swindon as well as managing a variety of transport services to keep communities connected.

Community Transport

Community First provides an advisory and support service to 42 Link Schemes and 21 Community Minibus Groups across Wiltshire and Swindon

Connecting Communities
Community Transport is the name given to any type of transport run on a not-for-profit basis to assist people who cannot access private or public transport. There might be a variety of reasons why people use Community Transport such as: lack of available public transport, health, disability or mobility problems, cost factors and other personal reasons. Community Transport is a real solution to an important local issue and it helps to mobilise and engage local communities. Many of the transport schemes supported by Community First across Wiltshire and Swindon harness the experience and energy of volunteers, who give freely of their time to help keep local communities connected.

Volunteers involved in supporting the service

Link Schemes in Wiltshire and Swindon

Community Minibus Groups in Wiltshire and Swindon

Community Transport Services

Link schemes are volunteer led services which aim to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged, elderly or disabled people by helping them access important local services including medical appointments or by providing practical help with small tasks around the home or garden. As the transport service is provided by volunteers using their own cars, passengers are invited to give a donation to cover the cost of running the service. Local Link Schemes are run by a group of volunteers managed by a Link Co-ordinator who helps to connect passengers with volunteers.

Image credit: Phil Chapman

Community Minibus Groups in Wiltshire and Swindon run transport services for the benefit of the local community on a not-for-profit basis. The majority of vehicles are wheelchair accessible and offer regular day trips or routes at affordable rates. Many Community Minibus Groups are registered charities and mostly volunteer-led, but some use a mixture of paid and volunteer drivers. Details of routes, trips and prices charged by each minibus group can be obtained by contacting your local minibus group.

Community First provides an advisory and support service for existing Link Schemes and Community Minibus Groups across Wiltshire and Swindon. We also offer hands-on assistance to voluntary and community organisations who are looking to establish new community transport initiatives for their local area. Our ‘Start Up’ service includes help to assess local transport needs, practical support, funding advice and training.
Do you love driving? Do you enjoy meeting people and getting out and about in your town or village? Your local Link Scheme or Community Minibus Group would love to hear from you! With over 2,000 volunteers supporting community transport schemes across Wiltshire and Swindon, you will be joining a friendly group of likeminded people who make a real difference. Find out more about volunteering and get involved with your local service.
Other Transport Services

MiDAS Training

Community First offers MiDAS Minibus Driver Training, a nationally recognised standard for drivers of minibuses that offers training for members of staff and volunteers to drive minbuses to ensure they transport adults and children safely.

Local Public & Health Transport Information

Public Transport Information
Wiltshire Council’s website has a useful transport guide which includes information about local buses and concessionary bus passes for older or disabled people in Wiltshire.

For more information about getting around in Wiltshire on public transport, you can also visit Connecting Wiltshire which has local bus timetables, information about train services and other forms of transport, as well as news and information about transport in Wiltshire including travel alerts.

Planning your Journey
Connecting Wiltshire has a useful journey planner which allows you to plan your route and mode of transport. The Traveline website also features a journey planner for those who wish to travel in the South West.
Support for Disabled People using Public Transport
Wiltshire & Swindon Users Network (WSUN) currently runs a public transport ‘buddying’ scheme for disabled people in Wiltshire, called Wiltshire Independent Travel Support (WITS).

WITS offers initial travel support to individuals who would like to travel independently on public transport for work, to meet friends, for college or training. After an initial meeting WITS designs an individual programme of support depending and provides a travel supporter to accompany the person on their journey until they become confident.

WITS can also support people to develop skills like planning a journey, road safety, telling the time, using money or a bus pass and help to build confidence. The only cost to the individual is any bus or train fares although where possible WITS will assist people to apply for disabled person passes.

Download the Wiltshire Independent Travel Support (WITS) Enquiry Form.

Information for people over 60 and disabled people
Age UK has produced a useful guide to getting out and about including information on practical and financial assistance with public transport that may be available to people who are aged 60 or over, or those who are disabled. The guide also includes information about Community Transport schemes.

Concessions for Older People

Concessions for Disabled People

Health Transport Information
Wiltshire based patients who have a non-emergency medical need and require help with transport to reach their hospital appointment can apply to the Non Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) provided by Arriva Transport Solutions Ltd. The service runs 24 hours, 7 days a week.

The criteria that determine whether or not you are eligible for NEPTS has been set by the Department of Health and are based upon whether your medical condition prevents you from travelling by any other means.  Your eligibility is assessed each time you request to use the service (apart from those receiving regular dialysis or oncology treatment)

As a patient, you will not always have to book your own transport. This is sometimes done by the hospital or clinic under which you are being treated. However, if you are referred for tests or treatment by your doctor you may have to contact Arriva directly (you will be advised of this by your surgery/clinic).

The Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) is for patients who:

  • Need to travel to and from an appointment at a hospital or clinic
  • Are discharged from hospital, or
  • Need to transfer between centres, and
  • Because of their medical condition, cannot make their own way.

For non emergency patient transport to either: Great Western Hospital Swindon, Bath RUH, Salisbury District Hospital or Savernake Community Hospital, Chippenham Community Hospital, Melksham Community Hospital, Trowbridge Community Hospital, Westbury Community Hospital and Warminster Community Hospital

Call 01278 727401

Your eligibility for non emergency transport will be based on medical need. When you call the number given above you will be asked several questions to determine whether you qualify for non emergency patient transport. If you need to book your own travel appointment, you should try to call the number above at least the day before your appointment (although bookings can be made up to 4 hours prior to your appointment).

If you have a low income and do not have a medical need for transport, you may be able to reclaim your travel costs through a national NHS scheme called the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. You can make a claim at the hospital at your appointment (provided you have the necessary paperwork) or you can make a postal claim up to three months after your appointment has taken place. This service is not related in any way to the NEPTS service.

If you do not qualify for non emergency patient transport, please contact your local Community Transport scheme who may be able to arrange transport for you.