Life without a bus would be worse, say 9 out of 10
Published on 15 May 2013 12:01 AM
9 out of 10 older people say their lives would be worse without a bus pass, according to a new survey from Age UK.
New polling by Age UK has revealed that 93% of older people who own a concessionary bus pass say losing it would adversely affect their life.
The survey carried out on behalf of the charity by research agency TNS also found that 83% of older people on lower incomes had a concessionary pass.
The figures are evidence of the vital role of concessionary bus passes and reliable bus services in enabling older people to remain independent and lead fulfilling lives as well as helping to prevent isolation and loneliness.
New Age UK report on impact of cuts to rural bus services
The poll findings mark the launch of a new Age UK report which shows that older people in rural parts of England risk being stranded and isolated at home because of bus service cuts.
The study, 'Missed Opportunities, The Impact On Older People Of Cuts To Rural Bus Services', examines in detail the needs of older bus users in rural parts of Durham and Northampton, regions significantly affected by recent bus cuts.
Many local authorities have cut subsidies to bus companies as budgetary restrictions make it more difficult to balance the books. Without local government money, some bus routes become commercially unviable and so are scaled back or withdrawn.
The polling company, Opinion Leader, acting for Age UK, carried out in-depth interviews with people aged 65 plus across the two regions.
Among the findings, older people said bus cuts meant they:
- struggled to get to hospital and doctors' appointments
- stayed in, missing social activities
- found it hard to keep up voluntary and charitable work.
41% of local authorities made cuts to bus services last year
Research last year by the Campaign for Better Transport found that 41% of local authorities in England made cuts to bus services in the last financial year (2012-13).
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK commented, 'These results are further evidence that affordable and reliable bus services are a lifeline for older people, many of whom would otherwise find themselves stranded at home, isolated and lonely.
'The bus pass, we believe is invaluable in keeping older people engaged in their communities but for the scheme to work, there need to be buses for older people to travel on.
'Older people must be able to lead independent and fulfilling lives which means being able to get to their local shops, doctors, hospital appointments and visit friends and family.
'We call on the Government, local authorities and bus companies to commit to protecting access to transport for all older people - particularly those in rural areas - who are most likely to be isolated.'