Community groups and associations may avail of minibus transport provided by community transport providers across Northern Ireland. Group travel allows you to hire a minibus on either a ‘with’ or ‘without driver’ basis. Community transport is not able to provide minibuses for hire on a ‘self-drive’ basis.
Minibuses range from 9 passenger seats to 16 passenger seats. The majority of minibuses are fully accessible, meaning they are equipped with a passenger lift and lower side step and have high visibility handrails. This makes using a community minibus easier for people with sensory disabilities, limited mobility or wheelchair users.
All community transport minibuses are covered by fully comprehensive insurance and public liability insurance. In order to hire a community vehicle all groups must first become a member of the local community transport provider. Membership forms and Group Member terms and conditions are available from your local community transport operator.
Fares are varied and depend on the distance travelled and length of time the vehicle is used. As community transport is not permitted to ‘take-a-profit’, fares may vary across Northern Ireland. Where the community transport operator has been able to subsidise cost through fundraising, grants or donations fares may be lower than a neighbouring provider. Once you are a member you will have access to how fares are calculated and updated regularly.
Drivers (paid or volunteer) must all be registered with the local community transport operator and have completed driver training before a vehicle may be hired. Paid or volunteer drivers must:
- Have appropriate driving license entitlement
- Be registered on the local community transport organisation’s driver list
- Have completed training such as MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme)
- Have submitted copy of their driving license, provided information about vehicle insurance and agreed to the terms and conditions of driving
If you would like to hire a vehicle with a driver then you will be supplied with a driver who knows the local area, is trained to care for your group’s needs and is available to provide support for your members. Drivers will help with seatbelts, stow mobility equipment and if required assist passengers to and from their home / vehicle.
It’s a different way to travel – community transport: getting you there with care.
Large Group Travel
The Department of Rural Development’s Rural Transport Fund has developed a new scheme to support large groups of people to travel in Northern Ireland.
The RTF Voucher Scheme is a scheme that provides up to £100 off the cost of travel for groups who travel using a large coach.
Applications for the RTF Voucher Scheme are released on a quarterly basis and should be applied for in the quarter before travel.
In order to avail of the scheme your group will be asked to investigate prices for your trip to ensure the best value and quality of transport will be delivered. RTF will provide a select list of large coach/bus transport operators who have registered to deliver transport for the scheme.