Community Car

The community car scheme is a non profit car sharing scheme for people who find public transport difficult or impossible to use due to their disability or age.
Using volunteer drivers in their own cars we carry people to Doctors, Dentists, Chiropodists, Hairdressers, Lunch Clubs and anywhere passengers want to go during weekdays between 9.00 am and 4.30 pm.
When making bookings, please ring us between 9.00 and 14.00 on 01752 600633. We need at least one working days notice for bookings and bookings can be taken up to seven days ahead. Each trip must be booked by phone. Passengers who use a wheelchair (w/c) must be able to transfer from their chair to a car unaided with the driver only needing to fold the w/c and put it in the car boot.

Our charges are calculated on a mileage basis and our current fare structure is listed below:

1) Mileage charge - £1.20 per mile.
2) We reserve the right to apply a call out charge of £5 for people who continually do not inform us about their cancelled trip.
3) In the event that a passenger soils the vehicle, we reserve the right to make an additional charge, not exceeding £25.00 to cover the cleaning cost.
All journeys are invoiced on a monthly basis and invoices are sent out on the first working day of the month after trips have been made. Each invoice will include all trips made by the passenger for the calendar month (We can send invoices to son, daughter, carer etc. if requested). We normally expect payment within 10 days.

The following points should be remembered when booking a Community Car.

1) Please book via the office and give not less than at least one working days notice. NB: Drivers are instructed not to take bookings.
2) Please inform us when registering and remind us at each booking:-
a) If you will be taking with you a wheelchair; a walking frame; a shopping trolley; an escort
b) If, for reasons of disability, you need a front car seat (this may restrict the journey's available to you).
c) If there is difficult access at your home or destination or if you need the car to call at the back entrance.
3) If you have a disabled persons "Blue Badge" please bring it with you as it may be helpful should there be waiting restrictions at your destination.
4) Be ready for your journey in good time. Please note we may be very busy at certain times and may need to vary your booked time by a quarter of an hour either way. For appointments we aim to get you to your destination between a quarter hour early and the actual appointment time. Our first appointment time is normally 9.15am.
Please note there may be occasions when we are unable to schedule your trip, in which case we will contact you the day before and notify you.
5) If you write to us, or when you send a payment do make sure you include your name and address plus the invoice number, if relevant.
6) Please try to settle your account within the month in which you receive your invoice. Payments may be made by cheque, postal order, debit card or online. Callers at our office may pay by cash. We do not issue receipts for postal payments.
7) Advance notice is required if you wish to change a booked time or destination. Please do not give amendments to the driver.
8) Please remember our drivers are volunteers and subject to the traffic laws and regulations that apply to every other driver. We know there are particular difficulties when passengers wish to stop at places where there are waiting restrictions, eg. pedestrianised areas and bus lanes etc. We are not able to pay any waiting penalties so consequently drivers may not be prepared to leave you or pick you up at the exact place you want. Please bear this in mind when planning your journey.
9) While most of our drivers are willing to carry a reasonable amount of shopping, some are only able to pack a limited number of bags into their car and others may not be able to lift at all. So please inform the office of your intentions when you book. NB: For Health & Safety reasons bags should not exceed 20lb in weight - drivers may have to split if they consider items too heavy.
10) Car seat belts should be worn at all times.

The following are some of the things we cannot do:

1) Move furniture or large / heavy loads or items.
2) Move unaccompanied packages (unless returning those left in car by accident).
3) Provide escorts or act other than for personal transport.
4) Take responsibility for passengers possessions, although we will be helpful and careful.
5) Offer medical skills.
6) Provide nursing care in transit.
7) Stop at bus stops or on taxi-ranks.
8) Take dogs or other pets except guide dogs or pets to veterinary appointments.
9) Provide the driver of your choice. Our work schedule needs must take precedence.
10) We regret that because of our charitable status and the way we are funded, we are not able to reduce our charges to people on low incomes.
Please note that we do not operate our service on a Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holiday or during the Christmas and New Year period.
Remember we are here to help you, so if you have a problem or query get in touch by phoning 01752 600633


Operating Instructions

The scooter/ wheelchair should be handed over to clients in a clean condition - if this is not the case, please report to one of our volunteers or a member of staff for attention.

The BRAKE LEVER should be engaged before getting on the equipment.

SWITCHING ON / BATTERY GAUGE: First insert the key and turn gently in the lock. Press the ON / OFF switch if applicable and the battery indicator display will light up. You are then ready to move off. For security, this key should be removed when the scooter is left unattended. The battery indicator display will flash in the event of a potential short circuit, then the safety device will come into effect. To re-start you depress the white buttons on the two battery boxes - this will reset the safety cut-out device and allow you to continue. (Power Chairs only)

FREE WHEEL MECHANISM: Every care has been taken to ensure that the scooter remains trouble free, but in the event of an unforeseen failure, a “free wheel” device will disengage the power drive to allow manual operation while the problem is being corrected. Clients must not disengage the freewheel device unless instructed to do so by a member of staff. Always phone for help.

SAFETY WARNING: An audible warning will sound when the drive is disengaged to remind users that the electronic brakes do not work. If this occurs, the scooter must not be used.

CLIMBING HILLS / SLOPES: Your vehicle is designed to travel up or down most walkable slopes but you must remember that, when climbing, more energy is being drained from your battery thus reducing the distance that can be travelled between battery charges. The slope between Cornwall Street and Mayflower Street (adjacent to ‘Comet') is particularly steep and energy draining and should be avoided if at all possible.
NB: When using a scooter or power chair you must not travel outside the pedestrianised area of the city centre

SAFETY: The scooter (also power-chair) must not be used on any road, unless you are crossing between pavements.

ALWAYS ENSURE that the scooter (and power chair) is switched off before attempting to get on or off it.

ALWAYS ENSURE that you are comfortable with the seating (height etc.) and the tiller positions.

WARNING: The tiller stem adjustment lock must be fully tightened before operating the scooter; the seat must also be locked in position and the seat arms lowered before driving off. The free wheel device (brake) must be securely engaged before getting on the scooter and applying power. (On scooters the horn will sound if not engaged).

ENSURE YOU understand and are able to operate all the controls from a normal driving position.

FULL SPEED TURNS MUST NEVER BE ATTEMPTED: If you do need to turn sharply you must reduce your speed. This is particularly important when travelling down a slope. Ignoring this advice could lead to a situation where you and your scooter turn over.

SHOPPING: Please do not overload the vehicle with heavy or bulky items - this could make the scooter unstable particularly if you suspend bags from the tiller handles.

EMERGENCY BRAKING: Removal of the key or switching off the power with the on / off switch causes immediate and full braking. This method of stopping is not recommended except in an emergency, as the stopping action is extremely sharp.

CHILDREN must not ride on the scooter or power chair at any time.

TYRES: Scooters are normally fitted with suspension and pneumatic tyres, which are designed to allow comfortable travel over uneven ground. Caution should be taken when travelling on cobbled or decorative paved areas. Try also to avoid broken glass and scuffing wheels against display racking in shops.

BATTERIES: Batteries are dry cell or sealed batteries contained in battery boxes strapped to the base of the scooter / power-chair. Under no circumstances should a client or any unauthorised personnel open these boxes.

DRIVING: Clients must stay within the pedestrian area of the city centre. Union Street west of ‘Toys R Us', Ebrington Street, the Barbican and Hoe areas, the Library are all ‘out of bounds' for powered equipment. Some premises in the city centre are inappropriate to enter on a scooter or wheelchair because of shop size or steps at the entrance. In these circumstances you should leave the equipment outside and / or seek assistance from shop staff. Do not drive up and down kerbs - it can be dangerous. Use dropped kerbs at all times. Do not drive up or down stairs or escalators.

We do allow manual wheelchairs on The Hoe and the Barbican.

When using the scooter or power chair in the city centre please be vigilant and keep your speed to a minimum, particularly when the city is crowded or when you are inside a building. It is important that the scooter is driven in such a manner that it does not tip over. When browsing it is advisable to turn your equipment off.

Remember, your Shopmobility scheme is judged by your behaviour and the way you drive!

The use of mobile phones or two-way radios can cause excessively strong electromagnetic fields and may interfere with the scooter's electronic systems.
If you need to operate mobile phones, two-way radios, ‘Walkie Talkies', C.B., Amateur Radios or other transmitting devices, the equipment must be brought to a halt and the power turned off before any device is switched on or used.

Some automatic doors (including lift doors) may also temporarily interfere with the scooter's electronic systems.

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Damp, wet and cold conditions may adversely affect the performance of the scooter - always avoid puddles! Scooters are not usually available for loan when snow is on the ground or during extreme stormy and windy conditions.

IMPORTANT: Always ensure the key is switched to the ‘OFF' position before attempting to get on or off scooter.

CONTROL LEVERS: Scooters move forward by pulling a control lever (usually on the right hand side) lightly towards you. Pull the control lever on the opposite side to reverse the scooter. For someone with single-handed use, the thumb levers (fitted on most scooters) enable you to push with your thumb in order to travel in the opposite direction to the pull lever. A number of scooters have a thumb control only; if this presents a problem, please inform staff when booking.

ALCOHOL: Consumption of alcohol is prohibited whilst using our powered equipment.

POWER CONTROL: The power control knob (or push button pads) enables you to limit your speed even when the control lever is fully depressed. When travelling over uneven ground or inclines it is advisable to turn up the power control. When using the scooter inside a building, this control must be set to the minimum level.

LIGHTS / DIRECTION INDICATORS (If fitted): On / off switches vary depending on make of scooter. Please remember that using lights increases the use of the battery and consequently these are sometimes disengaged or removed on Shopmobility scooters.

HORN: Your scooter is fitted with a horn that may be used to alert passers-by when necessary.

MOUNTING & DISMOUNTING KERBS: All equipment is loaned to you on condition you keep within the Plymouth pedestrianised area. Therefore, you should never have to mount or dismount a kerb. Mounting kerbs is a highly dangerous manoeuvre and can cause the brake lever to move to the off position causing the scooter to stop.

BRAKING: The braking system operates when the control lever is released - you will come to a halt gradually within one or two seconds.

SAFETY CUT OUT: There are a number of safety systems to avoid overloading your scooter. Firstly, to protect your scooter in the rare event of overworking, the power to the motor will decrease automatically but after a few seconds you will be able to proceed normally again. This device only operates in extreme circumstances such as steep hill climbing or making a sudden manoeuvre.

IMPORTANT. Please note that we reserve the right to charge for any damage sustained by the scooters while they are signed out to you. This charge will be up to a maximum of £100 and will be payable REGARDLESS OF BLAME

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