A bus on London Buses route 394
|Slogan||'Social justice and equality for all'|
|Headquarters||Ash Grove Bus Garage, London|
|Service area||Bristol, Greater London, West Yorkshire|
|Chief executive||Dai Powell|
HCT Group, owner of bus operator CT Plus, is a social enterprise providing transport services and community services in London and Yorkshire. It was founded in 1982 as Hackney Community Transport in the London Borough of Hackney to provide transport services for local voluntary organisations, charities and community groups. HCT Group is registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee (and has therefore no shareholders). The company is also a registered charity.
The HCT Group started in 1982 and now has a turnover in excess of £28 million and employs over 700 people. In June 2011 it reinvested 37% of annual profits into local community services, its best performance to date. Its chief executive, Dai Powell, joined the social enterprise as a bus cleaner.
CT Plus 
Garages in London 
Ash Grove (HK) 
HCT gained a contract in 2001 from Transport for London to operate 153 under the brand CT Plus, working from the Ash Grove Bus Garage. The following year, they moved headquarters to Ash Grove, sharing the site with Arriva.Contracts to operate routes 388 and 394 followed in 2003. The 388 was a new bus route from Hackney Wick to Mansion House (subsequently extended to Blackfriars and again to Embankment).
On 10 March 2007, CT Plus gained the contract for route W13.
On 6 March 2010, CT Plus gained the contact for routes 212 and W12.
On 16 October 2010, CT Plus gained the contacts for routes 385 and 675.
On 5 February 2011, CT Plus gained the contract for route W5.
On 3 March 2012, CT Plus gained the contract for route 309.
Bus types used 
- Alexander Dennis Enviro200Dart 8.9m (DAS) for route 394.
- Alexander Dennis Enviro200Dart 10.8m (DA) for route 153.
- Alexander Dennis Enviro400H Hybrid 10.2m (HEA) for route 388. 
- Alexander Dennis Enviro400 9.9m / Darwen Olympus (EO) for route W13.
- Bluebird Tucana 4m for LSP route 812.
- Dennis Dart SLF 8.8m / Caetano Slimbus (DCS) for route 394.
- Dennis Dart SLF 8.8m / Alexander Dennis Pointer (DPS) for route 385.
- Dennis Dart SLF 9.3m / Alexander Dennis Pointer (DPS) as a logical spare.
- Dennis Dart SLF 10.2m / Alexander Dennis Pointer (DP) as a logical spare.
- Dennis Enviro200 Dart 10.2m / East Lancs Esteem (DE) for route W13.
- Dennis Trident 2 9.9m / East Lancs Lolyne (HTL) for route 388.
- Dennis Trident 2 9.9m / Plaxton President (HTP) for route 675.
- Optare Solo 7.8m (OS) for route W12.
- Optare Solo 8.8m (OS) for route W5.
- Optare Solo 9.6m (OS) for route 309.
- Scania OmniCity 10.6m (SD) for route 212.
Other (non London Buses) London services 
- Special needs education transport services in Waltham Forest
- Coach and bus hire - Waltham Forest
- Social services transport in Kensington and Chelsea
- Day Center & Special Educational Needs Transport in London Borough of Lambeth
- Special Educational Needs Transport in London Borough of Southwark
Outside London 
HCT also operate a number of community and mainstream bus services outside of London. Services include:
- AccessBus in Leeds
- 'My bus' yellow-painted school buses in West Yorkshire for West Yorkshire Metro
- Park and ride bus service in Hull
- Bristol A4 Bath Road park and ride
- Bristol Portway park and ride
- Guernsey public bus operations
- Jersey Public Bus Services as LibertyBus (from 2 Jan 2013)
Community transport services 
- accessible minibuses for community and voluntary groups
- 'Capital Call' a door-to-door service provided by Private hire vehicles for users with mobility difficulties
- 'ScootAbility' mobility scooter home delivery service
- 'PlusBus' bus service for those who have difficulty accessing mainstream transport
- 'Door 2 Door' transport service provided by volunteers for Hackney residents
- 'Integrated Transport Solutions' transport contract management service
- 'YourCar' a door-to-door service for registered users with mobility difficulties in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark
Education and training 
HCT provides education services supported by the Learning and Skills Council and the London Development Agency. The courses include bus driver training, particularly for women; social care and management.
Social enterprise and transport 
The British government has promoted the delivery of public services by not for profit organisations (the third sector). British prime minister David Cameron has stated that he wants more social enterprises running public services as part of his "Big Society".
HCT Group provides transport options for people who are unable to use mainstream public transport because of age, sickness, disability or poverty. It also provides driver training programmes with the aim of reducing unemployment.
Charitable legal website Get Legal described HCT's corporate structure as allowing HCT Group to "separate the risks associated with its business in different limited liability vehicles. The social mission of each of those vehicles is protected (either through charitable status or through being CICs) which sends a clear message to the public that the organisation is a social enterprise.
HCT says it aims to "demonstrate and promote the social enterprise business model as a highly effective and socially responsible mechanism", and that it maintains environmental, health and safety and social policies, and regularly measures its performance against these. Profit is seen by company CEO Dai Powell as enabling its social goals: "You have to be an enterprise first, because if you don’t make a profit, you can’t fulfil that social mission.". HCTs commercial services allowed it to invest 18 per cent of its annual profits into non-commercial community transport in 2007/08. Its mission was to increase this to 30 per cent in the subsequent five years.
HCT only competes for contracts that have high levels of accessibility and quality in the specification. "HCT sees the provision of high-quality public services as a goal in itself...and actively seeks user input into the design and delivery of all its services". The CEO claims "we don’t provide poor services for poor people – the quality has to be there”. HCT recruits volunteers to train people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities to use public transport independently.
West Yorkshire Metro noted that a community transport provider "...spends its surpluses on transport services in the community which are not commissioned from public bodies" but that "Commissioning from the sector can however carry risks...organisations can lack capability and professionalism and be over reliant on individuals leading to instability".
HCT Group is no more immune to labour relations problems than any other bus operator. The Socialist Worker described HCT as "no friend of workers" and its workers as "some of the lowest paid drivers in London".
Hackney Community Transport was established in 1982 when 30 community groups in the London Borough of Hackney formed a pool of six vehicles with a grant from Hackney Borough Council to provide low cost van and minibus hire for local community groups and a door to door alternative to public transport for people with disabilities. The company's services were staffed by volunteers, but over the next decade a small group of paid staff built up to assist the volunteer workforce.
In March 2006 HCT expanded outside London to run eight yellow My bus school transport routes in and around Wakefield for West Yorkshire Metro, a further seven runs added in September and three more in September 2007.
In March 2009, HCT Group published its first Impact Report
In February 2010 CT Plus Yorkshire took over The Hull 701 Priory Park & Ride route, with the aim of investing any surplus from its park-and-ride operation to expand a local community transport service and to set up training for long-term unemployed people in Hull.
In February 2010, HCT Group raised £5m via a “social loan”.
By 2010 HCT had grown by over a hundredfold since 1993 – from a turnover of £202k to a turnover of £23.3m in 2009/10.
Corporate strategy 
HCT Group's corporate strategy is to generate profits from providing commercial transport services, then to use these profits to provide community transport services for people unable to use mainstream transport. The two modes, public transport and special need transport, are fully integrated under their model: "the investment in responsive community transport services is made possible by running the commercial activity well". The Financial Times reported in 2010 that turnover had "grown by about 25 per cent a year for the past eight years and is expected to top £20m in the year to March 31, 2010, when profits will be around £1m.". HCT's rapid growth is achieved by merging with smaller community transport organisations.
HCT Group CEO Dai Powell, in an article explaining the group's strategy, said the business aims to double in size every five or so years for the foreseeable future, seeing scale as ...crucial. The better we do commercially, the more we can do for the communities we serve as a social enterprise. The strategy is maximising the good that we do... to be as bold as a commercial firm, but to the benefit of our communities, not to the owners of capital. It also has the advantage of keeping our social mission absolutely central to our approach. Powell contrasted this approach to that of many third sector organisations where risk is to be mitigated at worst and eliminated at best. This is simply hopeless for rapid growth. He describes the process as ...so much more rewarding than spending your days "maximising shareholder value", whatever that means.
- Our structure on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-01
- Research shows 'start-up explosion' in deprived communities on The Guardian website, viewed 2011-09-10
- 1997 - 2003 on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-18
- 2006 on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-19
- London group wins Hull park and ride deal on thisishullandeastriding.co.uk news website, retrieved 2009-10-01
- Community transport services on HCT Group website, retrieved 2119-10-01
- Our Learning Centre on company website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- AGENDA ITEM NO: 16. SUBJECT: COMMUNITY TRANSPORT on West Yorkshire Metro website, retrieved 2009-10-09
- HCT Group company details on Clearly So website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- HCT Group case study on Get Legal website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- Corporate responsibility on Group website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- Profile of Dai Powell on socialenterpriseambassadors.org website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- Social enterprise action plan: Scaling New Heights, British cabinet paper, retrieved 2009-10-08
- Engaging the unemployed in a volunteer led community service - HCT Group on British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- see for example 40 BUS WORKERS PICKET ASH GROVE on Workers Revolutionary Party news website, and London bus workers at Hackney to strike over dismissal of shop steward on Unite the union news website; both retrieved 2009-10-10
- 'Why we prefer social enterprises and co-ops as business partners' on The Guardian website, viewed 2011-10-19
- ‘Social loan’ for cause-based groups on Financial Times website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- Origins on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-18
- 1986 - 1996 on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-18
- HCT Group on www.londonrebuilding.com website, retrieved 2009-10-08
- 2004 - 2005 on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-19
- 2007 on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-19
- 2008 on HCT Group website, retrieved 2009-10-19
- HCT Group publishes its first Impact Report on group website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- Commencement of Hull Priory Park Park and Ride service on group website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- Park-and-ride firm HCT is focusing on the community on Hull Daily Mail website, retrieved 2011-01-04
- 'Our lessons from the race for scale' on The Guardian website, retrieved 2011-03-07
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