An independent report into 55 individual lines of inquiry into three linked community transport organisations has revealed a raft of failings, and up to £300,000 being owed to councils.
The previously confidential 288-pages, 82,000-word report, commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council, follows formal complaints made by the Cambridgeshire Bus Coach and Taxi Drivers Association (CBCTA).
The CBCTA argues that the three linked community transport organisations (CTOs) – Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT), Huntingdonshire Association for Community Transport (HACT) and Ely & Soham Association for Community Transport (ESACT) – are operating “in clear breach” of the Section 19/22 regime, i.e. that: “A vehicle being used under a permit must not be used with a view to profit nor incidentally to an activity which is itself carried on for profit.”
The report shows that FACT only needs 11 vehicles to operate its genuine community transport services (such as dial a ride) and HACT only needs five vehicles.
However, in just five years, grants of almost £1.3m from taxpayers were used to expand the fleet to 46 vehciles, with 25 vehicles used by FACT on commercial contracts, while HACT’s fleet expanded its fleet by £442,501 in just three years to create a fleet three times larger than the demands of its genuine community transport services.
The CBCTA says that an action plan effectively involves the council “marking its own homework” and says it will respond, ahead of a council meeting scheduled for 31 July.
Find out more: Report is here