Life without bus pass would be worse, say 9 out of 10 ,
Published on 15 May 2013 02:00 PM
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Nine out of ten older people say their lives would be worse without a bus pass, according to Age UK poll.
New polling by Age UK has revealed that 93 per cent 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[i] also found that 83 per cent of older people on lower incomes[ii] 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.
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.[iii]
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 Without local government money, some bus routes become commercially unviable and so are scaled back or withdrawn.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[iv].
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.
Research last year by the Campaign for Better Transport found that 41 per cent of local authorities in England made cuts to bus services in the last financial year (2012-13).[v]
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said, '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.'
Contact Age UK for interviews and case studies.
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Notes to editors
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).
[i] TNS Capi Omnibus poll of 1080 plus women and 65 plus men
[ii] 83 per cent on pension credit said they had a concessionary pass
[iii] In Northamptonshire, the Campaign for Better Transport found that the local transport authorities reported that they would be cutting funding in 2012/13, compared to 2011/12, by 29 per cent.
[iv] Opinion Leader conducted 16 in-depth interviews with people aged 65+ who lived in rural areas and who used bus services as their main source of travel.
[v] The crisis of bus provision in England: The second year of cuts to supported services; Campaign for Better Transport (December 2012)