Poor public transport could be isolating the elderly


Poor public transport could be isolating the elderly

A new report suggests that thousands of elderly people in Scotland are confined to their homes due to poor public transport in the area.

The survey by WRVS – a charity helping older people through volunteering - found 16,500 75-year-olds felt unnecessarily excluded because of poor public transport.

The survey unearthed that 20% of older people in Scotland had been hit by a reduction in public transport services, while 3% said they now got out and about less because they had no way of getting to destinations by themselves.

Despite travel being offered free to those aged over 75, many said they did not use public transport because it was not suitable for their disabilities.

Speaking to the BBC, Margaret Paterson, head of operations for WRVS in Scotland, said: "Older people in Scotland shouldn't be confined to their own homes simply because they can't access transport.

"Getting out and about is a basic necessity that many of us take for granted, but this report shows it isn't so straightforward for older people who may have mobility issues and we know this can have a devastating impact on wellbeing."

Transport Scotland has responded by investing £187 million this year on the concessionary bus scheme – that figure rising to £192 million by 2014.

In January, a deal was reached to safeguard free bus travel for the over 60s and people with disabilities.

The Scottish government agreed an extra £10m-worth of investment in the bus industry to allow concessionary travel to continue.

However, the amount of money the government reimburses the bus operators is being reduced over the next two years.

Scottish Labour said it would mean higher fares and poorer services, but the government rejected those claims.