Who can drive for community transport services
A variety of people, of both sexes, offer their time to community transport schemes.  Retired, early-retired, those in part-time employment, those with time to spare.  And they come from all walks of life.  A caring approach and a liking of driving are really the only requirements.  As you would expect, all drivers are asked to provide us with references, have a current driving licence and be prepared to have a DBS/CRB check.  This is because many of our passengers are vulnerable and need the reassurance that, whenever we provide a driver, he or she is totally reliable.  The majority of  insurance companies will extend a driver’s cover to include voluntary driving of this nature without a premium increase. Please contact the office to find out more and how to apply.

I can’t drive, but I’d like to help
We are not only looking for volunteer drivers, we also need volunteers to help as trustees, with fundraising and as passenger assistants.

Why do people volunteer
There are many reasons but they are often people who have some time free and wish to help the community: newly retired people and mums whose children are now older are two common types of people.  We have also had several unemployed people volunteer as it makes their CV look better because they have been kept busy. We’ve also ended up employing four volunteers as paid staff.

What is involved
Passengers are carried throughout the year and every day.  Most trips are in and around the local towns, but others are further afield.  Drivers can specify on which days and times they are available and which type of journey or distance they would or would not wish to do.  Many of the journeys are regular bookings, with the same passengers going to the same places every week.  Volunteers need to show that they have breakdown cover and need to take a short driving assessment before they start.

Do passengers pay for their journeys
It depends upon the journey and/or passenger.  Some passengers pay cash directly to the driver at the end of the journey.  Other journeys are paid for by Social Services Departments or other organisations.  In those cases the payment is recovered by us invoicing the paying organisation at the end of the month.  The charge for the journey is calculated according to a scale.

How are drivers recompensed
At the end of each month drivers complete a return listing their journeys for the month and the mileage covered.  We then transfer the appropriate amount to their bank account. This is calculated using a mileage allowance specified by Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils, based upon AA/RAC figures for the overall running costs of a car. This is calculated to include fuel, insurance, tax, servicing, etc).  The current rate paid to drivers is 45p per mile.

Are payments liable for income tax
Provided the distance covered in a year on community journeys does not exceed a figure set by HM Revenue and Customs (currently 10,000 miles) no tax liability is incurred on the allowances received. It is the personal responsibility of the driver to notify HMRC if that mileage is exceeded. We can accept no responsibility for drivers’ liability to tax.