Related Issues of Transport and Fuel Poverty

Who Cares? event

Comments from Lisburn Discussion Event:

  • Free bus pass – brings a lot of people out of their homes, provides exercise to walk to public transport, excellent idea, promotes social interaction – real lifeline
  • Unanimous agreement – Bus Pass to stay! Good that the bus system is free for older people
  • Transport to classes for community/voluntary groups is a serious problem. Some who would benefit and want to attend can’t due to of lack of transport.
  • Constant concern with money – “older people are cold and don’t turn heat on I have to keep my coat on when I go visit my parents after church each Sunday – I don’t know how they cope in a cold house”. The solution may be to sell their house but the transition would not be good because they have memory problems – dementia, so changing their surrounding not good”.
  • Transport is key to people maintaining their independence. Ours is poor. Big transport issues, especially in more rural areas. Transport should work in parallel with social services and communication to help improve access for older people.
  • There is much promotion of being better custodians of our own health – but healthy food, fruit, vegetables have become very expensive especially with the last few years of bad flooding and price rises. It is very costly to eat healthily especially with the rise in fuel so a lot of people have to choose to feed themselves well or to keep warm
  • “Scared about welfare reform; afraid to ask in case lose what we currently get”

Comments from the Omagh Discussion Event

  • Private transport is necessary in rural areas and needs to be improved – “if I had no car, I’d feel like I had no arms”.
  • Transport was a big talking point at the table and focused around frequency, accessibility (to not only the actual bus but to stops), driver attitudes, the kind of transport i.e. community based services/schemes, can bus passes be used to access other services etc.
  • Transport issues are more acute in rural areas.
  • Transport was a big issue. For the most part, services are not as readily available as in the past and groups have to pay thus hindering their ability to impact on the most vulnerable people. Funding is getting less and less so groups have to make a small charge for transport.
  • Vision is holistic but DHSSPS can’t work in isolation – if we are going to give equity and access to services, we need transport
  • Transport is biggest issue
  • Need good transport schemes to reduce loneliness and increase independence.
  • Door to door transport needs to be available when you need it
  • Fuel poverty is an issue – the pound goes down but the oil prices go up
  • You get DLA mobility supplement if you are on DLA before 65 years of age but not if you apply one day after 65. The table felt this was unfair as some needed their family members to take them to hospital appointments etc and although they have free transport the carer doesn’t and it is not always easy to access public transport in rural areas due to times of appointments not fitting into timetable of bus routes. Small print on the timetables was also an issue
  • NI is a place where contact is based on having car – access to transport is very important. e.g. if husband had been driver and wife is carer and didn’t drive, then this is a big problem – for both of them
Age NI Advice Line:
0808 808 7575

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