More than a million people in Wales could struggle to afford the costs of running a car, and a lack of alternatives is forcing many people to choose between getting into debt and being cut off from jobs, healthcare, shops and schools.
That's according to a hard-hitting report from a group of charities in Wales.
Access Denied/Rhwystro Mynediad, calls on politicians to recognise the complexities of and tackle the growing problem ‘transport poverty’.
With a quarter of households having no car at all, and fuel costs set to continue rising, the report calls for more investment in alternatives such as public transport, car clubs and routes for walking and cycling.
The report is backed by Age Cymru, Citizens Advice Cymru, Save the Children and Sustrans Cymru who agree that without investment now, the problem will only get worse.
The charities point out that many people in transport poverty aren’t just unable to afford a car, but also find it difficult to cover the costs of public transport.
Lee Waters, National Director of Sustrans Cymru said:
“It is shameful that not having a car in many parts of Wales severely limits your chances in life.
“In assuming that everyone has easy access to a car, we have forced thousands into ownership that they simply can’t afford - or, worse still, we’ve left them stranded.
"If Wales is serious about tackling poverty, we must make sure that people can access the jobs and services they need, regardless of where they live.
“This means building a transport system that is available to all, not just those who can afford to drive.”