Published on 01 April 2011 10:00 AM
Wales’s public transport system needs an overhaul so that older people can access essential services such as health care, and maintain their independence.
That’s according to Age Cymru which is today highlighting public transport as an issue older people will vote on at the Welsh Assembly elections on May 5.
Age Cymru Director of Influencing and Programme Development Victoria Lloyd says:
“Good public transport is essential to the health and wellbeing of older people as they can be disproportionately affected and isolated when it fails.
“Two thirds of single pensioners in Wales do not have a car and half of all households in Wales without a car are aged 60 or over.
“We also know 40 per cent of people in Wales feel the local bus services fail to meet their needs and they’re not able to get to town centres or shops.
“Moreover the figures show that 65 per cent of people feel public transport lets them down when they need to get to their local hospital.
“Public transport in Wales is leaving older people isolated and unable to access the services they need to maintain a good quality of life.
“Older people have told us that public transport is a real problem for them and it is one that they want the next Welsh Assembly Government to tackle.”
Based on what older people have told the charity, Age Cymru is calling for:
- Extending the concessionary bus pass scheme to cover rail journeys and providing taxi and community transport tokens to people who can’t access bus services;
- The Welsh Assembly Government and local authorities to support existing community transport services to develop and expand so that they are able to meet the demand that is out there for these services.
Victoria Lloyd concludes:
“Older voters are a major influence on the outcome of elections and this year, 75 per cent of constituencies in Wales can expect to see more than half of the vote cast by people aged 55 or over.
“It is vital that the Assembly recognises the challenge of tackling the public transport and the opportunities this will provide to improve the lives of older people in Wales.”