Britain’s older people are being failed by the nation’s public transport system, a new study has revealed.
A third of pensioners in the United Kingdom do not use public transport, despite the fact that they're allowed to ride for free with a bus pass.
Furthermore, fifty percent of those who do have one only use it less than once per month.
The most frequent complaint heard from people aged sixty five and over is that the country’s public transport system is inconvenient, and fails to take people where they actually want to go.
The report, compiled in part by the respected think-tank International Longevity Centre also found that 1.45 million pensioners in Britain have found it difficult to make their way to a hospital, with a further 630,000 struggling to get to their local GP.
People with the lowest incomes, and those in poor health, also find it the most difficult to reach medical services.
The report comes in the wake of a general election where one of the key issues was universal pensioner benefits, and in which the head of the Conservative Party and current British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to protect such benefits, including winter fuel allowance, bus passes, free eye tests and prescriptions as well as to increase state pensions by a minimum of 2.5 percent - the only party to make such a commitment.
Transport system needs updating and revamping
It's clear to many people that the report serves as an important message to the government. It seems that the transport system in the United Kingdom is failing to meet the needs of the aged population of the country, a demographic that is continuing to grow.
It's increasingly important, even vital, for the older generation to be able to leave their homes and venture out into the community, not least as data has demonstrated that it increases their ability to stay healthy and independent for a longer period of time.
Traditional methods of allowing elderly people access to transport are still very useful, of course. While the free bus pass remains important, it is today also crucial that a big difference could be made by making more creative use of volunteers while also planning transport routes more effectively, and that in the longer term, technological innovations such as driverless cars could also have a key role to play.
Current figures suggest that Just one in a hundred people over sixty intend to stop driving because of their age, although forty three percent admit they could be prevented from doing so because of health problems.