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Community Transport Glasgow changes direction during Covid-19

September 16, 2020


Community Transport Glasgow (CTG) is a registered charity and was established to provide relief to communities of Glasgow and its environs, particularly the East End and West of Glasgow, who are in need due to age, mobility, mental and physical disability, illness, and poverty. This is achieved by providing affordable, reliable, accessible transport solutions to the local communities it serves. It provides transport solutions to 75,000 passengers per annum including group, patient, door-to-door, and community bus services.

In April 2019, CTG established a Transport Hub, which was a pilot project with NHS Lanarkshire to be used for the purpose of planning, scheduling, and booking non-emergency patient transport (NEPTS) and non-patient transport services such as staff transport, specimens, records, and theatre equipment. The Hub was also assisting with the scheduling and planning of CTG’s own transport solutions.

CTG Manager, Graham Dunn recognised that he had a requirement for a dispatch solution that could manage the process of booking and planning each journey and so began working with us, implementing the 365 Smart Platform to digitise his processes and automate route planning.

A Slight Change in Direction

Unfortunately, when the global Covid-19 pandemic hit, CTG transport services were heavily effected, due to the nature of the services provided and the demographic of the passengers and drivers. Many services were impacted by the need for passengers and drivers to shield and regular journeys were halted due to the government-mandated lockdown. This drastic change in circumstances and ‘business as usual’ prompted Graham to consider alternative services; “due to the coronavirus pandemic many of our drivers were shielding and our regular service users were not able to travel to their usual services and activities, so we looked at ways we could redeploy our services to help out in the community.”

“We have a fleet of 16 vehicles – 7 of which are fully electric – and we’re partnered with 12 agencies across Glasgow. We began working with Third Sector organisations and Glasgow City Council to deliver food, prescriptions, and activity packs, all scheduled through our 365 Smart Platform”.

Our innovative system was able to adapt with the changing demand placed on CTG and to facilitate the new way of working.

Graham continued “we have been working with a key partner in the distribution of food; Glasgow Community Food Network to pick up wholesale food and deliver it to 15 local organisations for redistribution to those that need it. We schedule these journeys through the 365 Smart Platform and this helped us to plan 37 pickups, delivering to 116 places in June alone.”

“The Smart Platform takes the stress out of journey planning as the scheduling tool does this all for us, using mutliple intelligent mapping services to work out the best route and incorporate each of our other pick ups and drop offs. During the peak, we were delivering care packs to almost 1,300 homes and we couldn’t have done it without the 365 Response system.”

The CTG Transport Hub Working with Third Sector Organisations

The busy Transport Hub was previously responsible for 800/900 journeys per month on behalf of NHS Lanarkshire, with approximately 80% of these being fulfilled by taxi services and 20% by third sector organisations. The impact of Covid-19 resulted in many taxi drivers self-isolating and heavy requirements for new resources to be put in place. Using the 365 Smart Platform, CTG was able to put new resources in place quickly.

Graham commented “with just a 24 hour turn around we were able to allocate journeys to third sector organisations. This quickly increased to over 1,100 journeys per month with over 80% being allocated to third sector organisations.”

Extra Support During Coronavirus

Throughout the pandemic, CTG have worked closely with LifeSavers Scotland, an organisation run completely by volunteers, who donate their time to providing out of hours transport needs for NHS hospitals. As part of the work with NHS Lanarkshire, CTG provided and scheduled transport to supply over 300 Covid-19 testing kits to care homes throughout Lanarkshire.  Graham added “we have also worked with NHS Lanarkshire to put in place specific transport for getting patients to and from the Covid-19 assessment centres. LifeSavers provided vehicles to transport patients with Covid-19 symptoms, who had no other means of getting to the assessment centres, with safe transport to and from their homes. Due to the nature of the virus, only certain vehicles were able to transport these patients, and we used the 365 Smart Platform to book this service.”

The 365 Smart Platform has the ability to automate journey booking and dispatch, including specific parameters set by the user. In this instance, the scheduling tool will allow extra time at the start and end of each journey for the required deep cleaning. In vehicles of multiple passenger occupancy, the system is also able to accommodate social distancing, setting maximum capacities and building extra checks into the vehicle’s daily checklist before any passengers are taken on their journey.

Graham expressed that without the introduction of this Transport Hub, NHS Lanarkshire have acknowledged that they would have struggled with their transport demand and supply during Covid-19. 

Brendan Fatchett, Chief Commercial Officer, 365 Response “At 365 Response we specialise in patient transport systems and we’re proud to have helped facilitate the CTG Transport Hub with our digital transport platform. We have been working closely with the NHS, Local Authorities and Community Transport providers to further develop the modules of our Smart Platform to offer additional benefits for all stakeholders.”

“The Smart Platform offers modules from automated planning and scheduling, to finance and reporting. We’re also developing our platform to expand on our Group Transport, Dial-a-Ride, Courier and Risk Management modules. We believe that Demand Responsive Transport is the future and we want to ensure our systems are able to assist our customers in all of their transport system requirements.”

The Scottish Charity Awards

We’re proud to support CTG and they have recently been announced as a finalist in the Scottish Charity Awards. Community Transport Glasgow have been recognised in the ‘Demonstrating Digital’ category, and their Transport Hub has been described as ‘leading the way in demonstrating an integrated and shared transport model using a digital platform, supporting NHS Lanarkshire’s non-emergency patient and non-patient transport, with 10,000 journeys booked so far.’

We’d like to wish them all the best in the awards, which are due to take place in a virtual award ceremony on 25 September at 7pm. You can book a place here:

Get in touch, we would love to hear from you

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