Transport for medical appointments and social purposes

The Gamlingay and Hatleys Car Scheme has been in operation for over 20 years. All drivers are DBS checked (Disclosure and Barring Service) and operating within Covid guidelines.

The Gamlingay and Hatleys local car scheme - Mick Marshall with client, June 2018.

Mick Marshall with client.

Priority is given for medical appointments – but it is not a taxi service.

It can be used for taking you to your Covid-19 vaccination appointment and other engagements – they are listed below.

Pictured is Mick Marshall – for many years now, Mick has been taking the scheme’s clients to appointments.

Transport by approved volunteer drivers is organised for anyone who can’t provide their own transport and where public transport is unsuitable or non-existent to:

  • Hospitals – for appointments, admissions or visiting friends at Addenbrooke’s, Hinchingbrooke, Bedford, Stevenage, Ely.
  • Covid vaccination centres (see below).
  • Chiropodists.
  • Day centres / special needs clubs.
  • Doctors – the surgeries in Gamlingay and Potton
  • Dentists.
  • Opticians.
  • Physiotherapy, etc.
  • Friends and shopping.

Because of Covid

The Gamlingay and Hatleys Car Scheme – A4 poster relating to Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

Click for a copy of this A4 poster about vaccination appointments.
Poster: Judith Smith.

The car share scheme is following the safety guidance issued by Care Network Cambridgeshire.

In doing so, it hopes the risk to drivers and passengers of the spread of the virus will be minimised.

To keep everyone safe during their journey, the scheme requests all users to adhere to the following:

  • Only travel if you are feeling well.
  • Drivers may ring you the day before your journey to ask a few simple health questions.
  • If you – or anyone else you have had contact with – are feeling unwell, please notify the scheme to cancel your journey.

Both the driver and passenger must wear a mask. The scheme asks all passengers to use their own masks where possible – drivers will have a few spares if necessary.

  • Remember to wash and sanitise your hands prior to getting into the car on both the outward and return trip.
  • The passenger must sit in the back seat behind the front passenger seat.

The scheme asks users to remember that their drivers are not carers and are not permitted to give assistance that involves contact or lack of social distancing. Therefore, the passenger must be mobile enough to enter and exit the back seat without assistance.

  • Due to social distancing, the scheme would prefer it if the passenger is self-sufficient and does not need a carer.
  • However, if a carer is essential, they will also have to sit in the back of the car behind the driver and wear a mask.

Once the passenger has reached their destination, the driver will wait in their car for the passenger.

They will not enter the destination building but will wait for the passenger to ring them when they are ready for the return journey.

To ensure safety, drivers will clean vehicle surfaces before and after each trip using anti-bacterial wipes.

They will also ensure there is good air ventilation in the car, using windows and air vents rather than air conditioning.

  • Also the scheme asks users to put their payment for the driver in an envelope.

Using the scheme

If you would like to use the scheme, please ring 07519 493 701 and give as much notice as possible (certainly a minimum of at least three working days, unless it’s an emergency when we will always try to help) – even if you have an appointment in a month or two.

If the phone is unmanned, a recorded message will ask you to leave your name and phone number(s) – the booking co-ordinator will ring you back as soon as possible.

A journey is not booked until confirmed by the co-ordinator.

You are welcome to be accompanied by a carer or friend.

If you are wheelchair bound, most cars can take a folding wheelchair – drivers are not supposed to operate wheelchairs or be a ‘carer’, so please take a carer or friend with you.

You can also contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Community Transport Officer about individual transport needs on 0345 045 1151.

In addition Hatley St George, East Hatley and Gamlingay, the scheme also covers Little Gransden, Great Gransden and Waresley.


Cost

The cost of a journey is based on 25 to 30p / mile (calculated from the driver’s home and back) for each journey – although a fixed fee for each journey has already been calculated: typically, a trip to Addenbrooke’s costs £10.00 (which you pay to the driver). Best to ask the cost when you make an appointment. There is a minimum charge of £1.00 / return journey of up to four miles.

  • Passengers pay the driver at the end of the journey.
  • There is no extra charge for more than one passenger on any journey.
  • If appointments are for more than 2½ to 3 hours, two separate trips will be required and charged for.

Covid

A trip to the Stevenage vaccination centre will cost you £10.

  • If cost is an issue, Hatley Parish Council can help – please ring Margot Eagle on 01767 651 649 to discuss this further.
  • Passengers pay the driver at the end of the journey – please put your payment in an envelope.
  • Please wash and sanitise your hands prior to getting into the car on both the outward and return trip.
  • Please wear a mask – and sit in the back seat behind the front passenger seat.

There are quite a few other things to note in relation to Covid-19 and the car scheme – please see Because of Covid above.


Drivers required!

The scheme is in urgent need of more volunteer drivers. If you have a clean driving licence and are able to spare the odd couple of hours (with your car), the organisers would be very pleased to hear from you. No firm commitment is required – you can always say ‘no’.

On the day, passengers pay the driver 25p / mile from the driver’s home and back for each journey.

The scheme is supported by Cambridgeshire County Council – each quarter the Council pays 15p / mile to the Scheme’s co-ordinator who passes it on to the driver, so drivers get 40p / mile total, but in two instalments. There are some income tax benefits to this arrangement.

  • You will, of course, need a car which can be accessed easily by those with impaired mobility – you must also be willing to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check by the County Council.

To join, please ring Alison Baker, the Scheme’s local co-ordinator, on 07754 275 755 (or on the Car Scheme mobile: 07519 493 701).


Other information

The Cambridgeshire County Council website page Community transport details transport options for those unable to use public transport.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s website page Community transport details other useful information, including its South Cambs Transport Directory 2020.

Page checked / updated 20th January 2021.