Published on 13 December 2013 10:00 AM
A shortage of local buses can leave older people feeling isolated and lonely.
There is a serious lack of bus services across Wales which is likely to be made worse by cuts in funding.
Hospitals can be especially hard to reach in both rural and urban areas with many older people travelling as result of NHS reconfiguration and cuts to services.
Without local buses, older people cannot reach other local services such as banks and post offices.
With the Welsh Government recently announcing a reduction in funding for transport grants and reports about possible cuts to the funding for the free bus pass, Age Cymru is warning that more vital bus routes will be at risk of cuts.
A Carmarthenshire pensioner said;
“My bus only comes up the hill to my street twice a day now, leaving and returning very early. This change has affected my day to day plans and getting home early means I am alone for longer in my house.”
“If I missed the bus back, I would have to get an expensive taxi ride back to my house.”
A report, written by the Bevan Foundation for Age Cymru, gives views from over 300 older people across Wales.
It emphasises how a lack of buses in local areas can leave older people feeling isolated and lonely, with many of them using buses as their only way of reaching their local community.
Graeme Francis, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, says;
“Buses are a lifeline for older people – they provide people with a link to family, friends and local services such as supermarkets or GP surgeries.”
“Without reliable bus services older people who don’t have access to other transport links can be left feeling isolated and lonely.”
“The report strongly shows us that more action should be taken to provide a better service for older people, and to make sure that services will provide independence and freedom to many should be protected.”