Nearly one in five older people in Wales say public transport is a major challenge
Nearly one in five older people in Wales say public transport is a challenge for them, according to a new survey.
Age Cymru’s fourth annual What matters to you? survey of almost 1200 older people across Wales found that 18% of older people were dissatisfied with public transport in Wales.
Respondents said reduced or unreliable services impacted on their ability to attend health appointments, especially those with mobility issues.
One respondent told Age Cymru: “I don’t know how to get to my hospital appointments because I no longer drive, and there are only two buses from my village a day.”
Cuts to services
Older people in both rural and urban areas in equal measure reported experiencing cuts to bus services.
Several respondents said the lack of public transport in the evenings affects their ability to attend places such as theatres, cinemas, and places of worship – activities that are crucial to help people combat isolation and loneliness post pandemic.
One respondent said, “Lack of late-night buses prevents me from attending events that I would really enjoy.”
Some older people said they are having to keep running a car even though they would rather give up car ownership with rising energy costs. “I would like to give up my car, but the buses are too unreliable.” While another said, “taxis are extremely expensive and an unaffordable means of transport.”
Age Cymru chief executive Victoria Lloyd said: “Poor public transport can have a devastating impact on the lives of older people. It can affect their ability to attend health appointments, buy food, access cash, and pay their bills.
“Equally important, a lack of public transport can increase isolation and loneliness by reducing opportunities to socialise or join groups and activities, which is particularly important after the pandemic that disproportionally affected older people.”
Ms Lloyd added: “Reliable public transport needs to be readily available in communities across Wales so that older people can access the services and support they need and go about their daily lives.
“We want bus operators, local authorities, and the Welsh Government to work together to deliver the service people need. Older people are some of those most affected by poor public transport and so their needs should be considered, and their voices heard, in any future planning.”
Lee Waters, Deputy Climate Change Minister with a responsibility for transport, said: “We’re working hard with Transport for Wales and local authorities to provide more stable services across Wales and provide £60m to fund concessionary fares every year.
“But the reality is, demand for services has not returned to pre-pandemic levels and with budget pressures services have been changed to reflect demand.
“Our new bus legislation will set out how we want to transform the way bus services are planned and delivered in the future, but in the meantime, I would encourage people to get on board and support their local bus services.”
For more information visit: www.agecymru.org.uk/
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