MP says Milton Keynes PlusBus is “an important lifeline”
Iain Stewart, Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, has written about his positive experience as a passenger on the Milton Keynes Community Transport (MKCT) PlusBus.
Writing about his ‘month in politics’ for the Milton Keynes Citizen website, Mr Stewart said:
"...I also took a journey on MK PlusBus, the Milton Keynes Community Transport service. The service helps disabled and frail elderly residents of Milton Keynes who are not able to use mainstream public transport."
“I was able to see firsthand what an important lifeline this service is for disabled people to enable them to get to the shops or visit the doctor's or dentist's.” he added.
His comments recognize the vital role that community transport organisations play in promoting mobility in local communities and making sure that everyone has access to transport when they need it.
You can read Mr Stewart’s full column here: www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news
Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart on the MK PlusBus – about to seatbelt up before a local journey
Special honour awarded for accessible transport during the Olympics
ECT has been recognised for its 'outstanding achievement' with The Worshipful Company of Carmen’s Award of Merit.
The Award recognises outstanding achievement in the United Kingdom or overseas in the sphere of transport by an individual or group, and comprises an engraved silvergilt medal and citation.
It was given to ECT for the delivery of wheelchair-accessible shuttle services at the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012 for all those with disabilities, operating between railway stations and venues – the largest operation of its kind ever attempted, involving 24 community transport operators, 150 vehicles, 100,000 journeys and over 500 drivers and 200 additional staff.
It included a major training programme, and gave significant help to the blind, deaf, and less mobile and their companions.
The citation for the award, which follows a similar accolade at the UK Bus Awards, said: "Despite massive surges in demand, this free-standing charity, unconnected to any local authority, performed impeccably, returning all financial benefits of the operation to the 24 communities concerned."
ECT chief executive Anna Whitty with the Award of Merit
A big thank you for a remarkable team
The impressive City Hall, home of the Mayor of London, was the fantastic and worthy venue for a special event to thank all our partners and drivers on the Accessible Shuttles project for London 2012.
The event was both a thank you and a celebration – an opportunity to showcase and raise the profile of all the community transport organisations involved.
In her speech welcoming the gathering at City Hall, ECT Charity chief executive Anna Whitty, who directed the Accessible Shuttles project, said she had a “huge list of thank you’s”, including community transport schemes around London and UK.
She said drivers had shown their professionalism in delivering 100,000 journeys – alongside the highly committed project team, customer service teams, mobility teams and co-ordinators, as well as support from family and friends.
She also singled out the “unwavering faith in the sector” of Mark Dyer, Accessible Transport Manager at the Olympic Delivery Authority, and the dedication of former ECT employee Toby Parsons, Accessible Shuttles Project Manager, who “made it all actually happen”.
Special awards recognise ECT’s leading achievements
ECT Charity has been recognised for its leading achievements by peers in both the transport and social enterprise arenas.
The UK Bus Awards named ECT as a special winner alongside other key partners tasked with delivering transport services for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The results were announced before an audience of 700 industry movers and shakers at a glittering ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane. It is only the second time in the history of the awards that a decision has been made to recognise and reward a project that is not one of the normal awards categories.
UK Bus Awards chairman John Owen said: “We wanted to reward all of those that came together to deliver such an excellent service, without which the London 2012 Games would not have been such a great success."
In the UK Social Enterprise Awards, both ECT Charity and its CEO Anna Whitty were highly commended in the ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ and the ‘Social Enterprise Leader of the Year’ categories.
Transport minister hails the Accessible Shuttles project a ‘shining example’
Transport minister Norman Baker has praised the first rate service of community transport operators during London 2012.
“It is great to see that our transport system has risen to the challenge of the Paralympics by providing a first rate bus service for disabled passengers,” Baker said. “This is a shining example of what can be achieved when accessibility is put at the centre of transport planning.”
The minister added: “The Paralympics has been an inspiration to us all in so many ways. I am delighted the transport system has worked so robustly and would like to build on this in the future.”
ECT takes centre stage at London 2012
The year, 2012; the place, London; the aim – to help London 2012 achieve the goal of being the most accessible games ever.
With more then 10,000 journeys made on accessible vehicles, carrying more than 60,000 passengers, London 2012’s Accessible Shuttles project was indeed hailed as one of the success stories of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At the centre of the project was ECT, taking on the lead planning and delivery role.
Anna Whitty, chief executive of ECT, wrote a daily blog from the Paralympics about the extraordinary two weeks of intense activity and excitement. Click here to read.
Accessible shuttles – the transport success story of the games!
Working with the Olympic Delivery Authority, ECT helped to develop the provision of accessible transport for London 2012.
Setting a benchmark for future games and accessible transport, ECT provided the lead planning and delivery role bringing together 24 individual community transport organisations to deliver the accessible shuttles, operating no less the 48 routes.
ECT Charity CEO, Anna Whitty, features in Transport for London’s video report of the Accessible Shuttles project, citing it as the “highlight of her career so far”.
Newly branded ‘ECT Charity’ receives high praise for leading the way in community transport
No fewer than two Members of Parliament and one London transport chief took time out of their busy schedules this week to help unveil ECT Charity’s new brand – and to praise the organisation for leading the way in community transport services around the UK.
Lilian Greenwood MP, Steve Pound MP and Leon Daniels, managing director, Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL), were unanimous in their praise for ECT Charity’s achievements in using transport not just as a way of getting people from A to B but of building community wellbeing and improving people’s lives.
More than 100 guests joined a special ‘Summer Celebration’ event held at ECT’s headquarters in Greenford, west London, including staff, customers and partners from across the charity’s operations in London, Cheshire, Milton Keynes and Dorset.
There was also a round table discussion – held inside an ECT minibus! – with the VIP guests and leading representatives from the community transport, voluntary and local government sectors.
The event even managed to achieve a break in the recent bad weather, as the sun streamed down onto the fleet of shiny green minibuses decked out in the new branding. ECT Charity chief executive Anna Whitty said she was “incredibly proud” of the commitment, loyalty and expertise of her team. Lilian Greenwood MP, Shadow Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Regional and Local Transport, said: “I became an MP to make a difference and change people’s lives. That’s what ECT Charity’s services do – change people’s lives.”
She added: “ECT Charity is aware of the huge challenges that the community transport sector faces, especially issues around social inclusion. They have devised an integrated partnership approach, which certainly gives food for thought about how public services should be delivered – making sure they are procured in the right way, especially without sacrificing quality for cost.”
Leon Daniels of TfL, who chaired the round table discussion, said: “ECT Charity has shown that an integrated community transport model works. It is efficient and steps up to provide a solution, especially in the challenging economic times we are facing.”
Steve Pound, MP for Ealing North since 1997 and Ealing’s former Mayor, told guests he had watched ECT flourish over the years, delivering happiness and wellbeing across the community. “You have made people’s lives better,“ he said. “Being isolated is one of the greatest causes of unhappiness – if people are happier, they are healthier too.”
The ‘ECT Charity’ brand proudly reinforces the organisation’s status as an enterprising charity, and is a parent brand for locally focused Ealing Community Transport, ECT in Cheshire, Milton Keynes Community Transport and Dorset Community Transport.
ECT helps Dorset village start its own bus service!
ECT is very proud to be associated with Bus2Go initiative launched by the Dorset villagers of Milborne St Andrew. Please click here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-18033158 to read the BBC news story.
Janet Grimes, ECT’s Training & Development Manager at DCT has worked very closely with Margo to make sure that the bus service we offered was what the community needed.
We're really proud that Dorset Community Transport has been able to help this group of committed villagers take the initiative and set up the Bus2Go service. This service in Blandford is a brilliant example of how charities like Dorset Community Transport can work together with local voluntary groups to give isolated residents of all ages the chance to get out and about and live their lives. As a charitable social enterprise, we're all about delivering transport services that make a positive difference to people's lives - from our work with voluntary groups to the home to school services we deliver for Dorset County Council.
ECT Trustee Recruitment
ECT is seeking trustees to bring their skills and experience to one of the Uk's leading transport charities
Be part of a high-quality social enterprise delivering benefits to the communities we serve
See our jobs page for more details
New London Low Emmission Zone standards
Does your minibus comply with the new London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards?
From the 4th January 2012 some older minibuses will not meet the new Low Emission Zone standards. This could lead to a charge of £250 per day for owners or operators of minibuses driving within the zone.
(Above map from Transport for London's LEZ website)
ECT operates a fleet of modern, LEZ compliant minibuses available for community use.
If you require a wheelchair accessible vehicle, or simply a standard minibus for a trip, please contact us by telephone, email, or by completing our online booking form.
Dorset Community Transport Up and Running!
ECT to start operating in Dorset!
ECT will commence Operations in Dorset from September 2011
Next CT Forum Confirmed
Our next CT Forum in Milton Keynes will take place on Saturday 7 May, from 2pm at the Salvation Army Centre in Conniburrow. As usual, it will be a great chance for members, potential users and anyone else who's interested to meet with members of our Operations Team, to find out more about what we do, and to raise any queries or suggestions. Refreshments are provided, and free transport is available!
Shopping Bus Improved!
Our Milton Keynes depot will be making significant improvements to the Shopping Bus service, which from May 2011 will run every weekday. It offers direct journeys from certain sheltered housing schemes to local shopping destinations, at a fare of just £3 return per person. You can check if your scheme is on the list by clicking here.
Day Trips for May launched!
ECT is delighted to have launched its new and improved programme of Day Trips for May, from our Milton Keynes depot. To help take advantage of the better summer weather, we'll be offering a trip on most weekdays during May, with destinations including Bourton-on-the-Water, Hatfield House, and Poplars Garden Centre. With a choice of over 20 trips, there's bound to be something to suit everyone - the only problem might be making a decision (but of course you can always book more than one!). On-line payment is still available, so you don't even have to wait for a booking form - just click here!
For members in Cheshire and West London, we hope to have information available shortly about our plans for summer Day Trips from these areas.
ECT supports Christmas Day Party
ECT is delighted to be supporting the annual Christmas Day Party in Milton Keynes, which takes place at the Santander building in Shenley Wood and which is open to individuals who might otherwise be spending Christmas at home alone. It's always very well attended, and is organised by a dedicated team of local volunteers.
Our Milton Keynes depot is this year providing three vehicles to help get people to and from the party, particularly those who need to travel with their wheelchairs. We're expecting to transport 22 individuals this year, and this service is provided without charge - a number of our staff volunteer to help out, and ECT covers the cost of the fuel. We hope that everyone who goes has a great time!
Winter 2011 Day Trips launched!
The programme for Day Trips for January to April in the Milton Keynes area has now been launched, with on-line bookings already available (leaflets and booking forms will be sent out in early December). In addition to the normal Saturday programme, there are new local trips each Tuesday, including Buckingham, Leighton Buzzard and Olney.
First funding cuts hit ECT
Like everyone, ECT is apprehensive about the national spending review that will take place in October, and we've already felt the initial tremors from this. In early August, it was confirmed that the abolition of the South East England Development Agency will mean the end of funding for our MK Connect service in Milton Keynes. We're working with the project officers to find the best way forward, and there is some limiting funding already committed that will be protected, however it will undoubtedly have an impact on the service in the longer-term. At the moment, MK Connect will operate unchanged, and we'll provide more details in the autumn.
Launch of PlusBus in Ealing!
ECT has confirmed that from 4 May 2010, we'll be offering individual door-to-door transport in Ealing, available to people aged 60+ or with mobility difficulties. Journeys can be booked for trips to the shops, GP, meals out, etc, and our buses can accommodate wheelchairs or scooters (provided this is advised at the time of booking); all of our drivers are trained, CRB-checked and friendly! The fare is £5 per person single, £10 return. Have a look at our PlusBus page for more details.
Summer Day Trip Progammes Launched!
ECT is delighted to have launched its biggest programmes of summer Day Trips yet, for May to August this year! For the first time, trips will be offered in all of our operating areas - Cheshire, Milton Keynes and West London. All of the trips offer accessible transport to different places of interest, with pick-ups from the home address. They're a great way of getting out and about in the summer months! Click on our Day Trips tab for more information.
ECT seeks to appoint new Board of Trustees
Ealing Community Transport (ECT) is going through an exciting stage in our development. Following a governance review, ECT is aiming to register with the Charity Commission with full conversion expected on 1st April 2010. We are now looking to recruit trustees and a Chair to provide strategic direction, support the Chief Executive and take the organisation into its new phase.
ECT operates a variety of community transport services throughout the country, with depots in West London, Milton Keynes and Cheshire. With over 150 staff, we are a well established organisation with a fascinating 30 year history. ECT is an award winning organisation, a model for other transport groups in the UK. These positions present an excellent opportunity to support your local community.
We are looking for Trustees/Chair who have one or more of the following skills or experience:
• Management within a medium sized organisation;
• Experience in the not for profit/public/commercial sector;
• Financial Management;
• HR issues;
• Legal issues;
• Ability to put forward users' perspective;
• Management or board level experience in passenger transport service provision;
• Building networks & alliances
Full Board meetings are held every two months. Other involvement e.g. in sub-committees and preparatory work as appropriate is anticipated.
These positions are voluntary and unpaid.
ECT publishes Annual Review 2008/09 - Making a Difference to Peoples Lives
ECT has published its Annual Review for 2008/09. The Review details ECT's focus on sustainability and consolidation over the last 18 months. Click here to read the Review.
ECT’s PlusBus Included In National Transport Award Shortlisting
Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester Councils were short listed for ‘Most Improved Local Authority' in the prestigious National Transport Awards 2009
ECT's innovative PlusBus was amongst a number of inspiring projects instigated by Cheshire's Transport Coordination Team. The huge success and popularity of the PlusBus is reflected in the impressive results (discussed in the short listing) of 39% passenger growth within the first year of operation.
This follows a similar short listing at last years National Awards for Milton Keynes Council and ECT's MK PlusBus service.
For more information about ECT's services in Cheshire including the PlusBus, please click here.
ECT and Cheshire CC Awarded ‘Best Urban CT’
ECT’s Cheshire operation has been awarded the National award of ‘Best Urban CT Scheme’ by the Community Transport Association UK.
ECT's Cheshire operation has been awarded ‘Best Urban CT Scheme' by the Community Transport Association UK. The award relates to ECT's door to door PlusBus service in the Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston areas. Within it's first year of operation, ECT transformed the delivery of this service. Introduced in October 2007, it achieved a 39% increase in the number of passenger trips in its first year of operation.
Cheshire's Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, Eveleigh Moore-Dutton said: "Real winners of any successful service are the local people who enjoy and benefit from using it. However it is a great achievement that the combined results of Cheshire County Council, Chester City Council and Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council working with the ECT Group have received this prestigious national award. It is important to also recognise that it's the positive attitude of the drivers and booking staff who make a real difference for PlusBus passengers"
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT Group said: "Working with our partners in Cheshire has been a very positive experience for ECT and it is good to see that our achievements have been recognised. But our real reward is enabling our passengers who would otherwise be housebound and isolated, to maintain independent lives and links with the world outside their doors."
For more information about ECT's services in Cheshire including the PlusBus, please click here.
All Change As ECT Moves In New Direction
ECT Group, one of the UK's leading social enterprises refocuses on the provision of high quality passenger transport services
3 June 2008
ECT Group, one of the UK's leading social enterprises, is moving in a new direction it was announced today. The Group, whilst retaining its commitment to the provision of high quality public services for the community and to sustainability and partnership working, is preparing for major changes in direction.
ECT Recycling - part of the ECT Group - has been acquired by May Gurney, one of the UK's most successful maintenance and support services companies and listed on the London stock market (AIM).
The ECT Group (which includes the charity Ealing Community Transport) will continue to operate community transport services in Ealing, Milton Keynes, Cheshire and the 195 bus service. It will maintain its joint venture with Hackney Community Transport (E&HCT), transporting construction workers within the Olympic Park, on behalf of the ODA.
The rail businesses - RMS, Weardale and Dartmoor - are in the process of being sold to new owners with the financial firepower and resources to develop them successfully.
Cuckoo Lane Health Care will become an independent organisation. Its association with ECT made Cuckoo Lane one of Britain's most well known nurse-led practices.
Anna Whitty, who becomes Chief Executive of the ECT Group commented: "From community transport to mainstream bus services, ECT Group will continue to put our passengers first, thanks to the staff and volunteers who make our services run so smoothly.
"It has been an exciting time for us with the expansion of our services up and down the country and our new joint venture with Hackney Community Transport.
"We look forward to working in partnership; whether it is with local authorities, charities, other community transport organisations, or government schemes such as SureStart, to provide quality, accessible, sustainable community and public transport services".
Read the full press release here.
ODA Transport Contract Award
The Olympic Delivery Authority awards major transport contract to ECT and HCT Group
Full press release about this announcement can be found at the website of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).
Full press release about this announcement can be found at the website of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).