As a registered charity, the Community Transport Association (CTA) is the national representative body of voluntary and not-for-profit passenger transport operators in the UK.
It is estimated that there are over 100,000 minibuses in the UK, some driven by professional drivers but many driven by volunteers on ordinary car licences. Most of these volunteers drive for community transport organisations and provide essential transport for people who for whatever reason cannot access conventional public transport.
The CTA believes it is important that minibus drivers receive some form of training, as many of their passengers are from the more vulnerable sections of the community.
As part of its commitment to improving road safety, CTA operates the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS). Originally developed by Hampshire County Council, MiDAS is a nationally recognised scheme providing assessment and training for minibus drivers in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector. There are currently over 2,500 MiDAS members and their drivers all receive training in the skills and knowledge they require to drive minibuses safely and legally. Significantly, drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles receive additional training in the skills required to provide passengers who travel in their wheelchairs with a safe and comfortable journey.
In 2003, MiDAS was recognised as a leading example of training in the UK when it was presented with a National Training Award.
CTA has continued to work alongside Hampshire County Council and in 2006 MiDAS Car and MPV will be available to those drivers who are using their own cars or vehicles with under 9 passenger seats to provide passenger transport in the not-for-profit sector. Estimates suggest that over 3.5 million passenger journeys, covering over 30 million miles, are provided by volunteer car drivers. MiDAS Car and MPV aims to provide these drivers with training so that they are equipped to provide their passengers with a safe and comfortable journey.
CTA’s Chief Executive, Keith Halstead (picture above), says “CTA UK is proud to be a signatory of the European Road Safety Charter and is committed to the continued development and promotion of MiDAS. This is demonstrated by the recent launch of CTA’s new MiDAS Car and MPV programme, which CTA believes will make a significant contribution to road safety in the UK”.