Anna Whitty MBE is the Chief Executive of Ealing Community Transport (ECT), which provides safe, accessible and affordable community transport to people unable to use mainstream transport due to mobility or other difficulties, or because ordinary public transport is unavailable in their area.
Formed in 1979, it now offers its services across not just its West London namesake borough, but also in Cheshire, and Dorset.
Anna tells Leon how community transport serves people who ‘fall between the gaps’ of mainstream provision and are the ‘hidden heroes’.
The independent charity provides a door-to-door service for those who can’t use public transport. Anna explains why door-to-door – rather than ‘kerb-to-kerb’ – is so important.
They chat about ECT’s role in providing accessible transport during the 2012 London Olympics, and how it demonstrated to the world what a good accessible transport network looks like.
They move on to chat about how improvements in customer service and operations have been made, including MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) and the high standards ECT sets with regards to recruitment and training of drivers.
Anna closes by explaining how her staff pulled together to help community in need during the first Covid lockdown.