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SWINDON BOROUGH COUNCIL CONSULTATION ON A LOCAL BUS STRATEGYSWINDON OLDER PEOPLES FORUM

by admin | 23rd January 2013

SWINDON BOROUGH COUNCIL CONSULTATION ON A LOCAL BUS STRATEGY

Pre-amble

This submission is meant to supplement the Swindon Older Peoples Forum (SOPF) response to the questionnaire which appears below.  SOPF are fully aware of the economic and financial challenges that the Borough Council is facing but is of the view that development and maintenance of good transport infrastructure is vital to sustaining a vibrant and attractive local economy and the communities it relies on and supports.

However, this current consultation is indicative of a mistaken approach that attempts to deal piecemeal with an immediate problem without any apparent indication of a desire to look at the whole issue of integrated transport within the Borough.  Similarly the tone of the questionnaire is divisive and unhelpful, as in many places it seeks to get respondents to make choices between extremes.  Whilst not wishing to evade the need to  address some difficult challenges, SOPF is of the view that the precursor to making decisions should be an open rational discussion of the full range of options.  This suggested way forward resonates with the Council’s mantra of the “Big Conversation” and could be implemented perhaps through the establishment of Transport Forum, where the views of all providers and users of transport services could be regularly discussed.  Had such a Forum already been in existence we may have been able to avoid the problems that this current consultation seeks to address.

From the perspective of older people, like all other sectors of the population, they require access to, and use of, the full spectrum of transport options, cars, cycles, buses, taxis, community and voluntary transport etc.  Failing or poor health within the elderly makes them more reliant on public and community transport than some other age groups. Accessing local bus services is especially important if they are to respond to the “re-ablement” and “independent living” expectations that are starting to appear in local authority and health and social care policies.  Such access is also at the heart of combating the growing problem of social isolation, more prevalent among, but not exclusive to, the elderly.

 

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Page last updated: January 23rd, 2013 at 7:19 am