The Friendly Transport Service
The Friendly Bus is a community transport organisation (CTO) originally set up in 1999 by a group of local individuals in response to the limited commercial and public transport availability in the rural towns of Broseley and Much Wenlock, in Shropshire. In bridging this transport gap, The Friendly Bus has a strong social emphasis on extending “equality of movement” to individuals and groups in the local areas. This includes the rurally isolated, the elderly, those with disabilities as well as not-for-profit local community groups (e.g. local swimming clubs).
A notable feature of The Friendly Bus’s delivery model is the journey towards growth it has experienced regarding both the assets it owns and the range of services it delivers. In terms of assets, it has grown from renting two buses from another CTO and a local community organisation, to owning a small fleet of four buses of differing sizes. It also expanded in 2001 to offer a community car scheme, enabling local residents to hire volunteer drivers for specific trips (e.g. hospital visits) and has recently introduced a ‘car club’ scheme, allowing local residents to hire cars they can self-drive. The growth in its assets also mirrors the diversification in the services it offers. This has included extending its services from individuals to community groups and, more recently, also undertaking contract work with local authorities to provide pupil transport to local schools.