We already know buses are important for more than just getting to work or appointments - they bring friends and family together, help us take part in activities, be members of clubs and get out and about to do the things we enjoy - so as part of this year’s Catch the Bus Week we invited you to tell us how buses keep you connected.
The messages we received over the last week have shown just what a lifeline buses are to people around the country. Below is a small selection which all confirm that buses aren’t a luxury we can do without, they are an integral part of community life that must be protected. That’s why we’re calling for a National Bus Strategy, backed up by central Government support, to give operators and local authorities the long-term reassurance they need to grow and develop services. Last week MPs backed our calls for a national strategy and we will continue to press the Government on the issue.
If you sent us a message about your bus service, thank you. We’ve included a small selection below, and we will use your examples when we talk to politicians and decision makers to illustrate just how vital local bus services are.
“We love being able to travel to Bath without the hassle and expense of finding somewhere to park. Our bus stop here is only a few minutes’ walk away so it's like a Park & Ride without the ‘Park’. We just walk & ride.” - Jim, Corsham.
“I can get into my local town and even out to my supermarket. If I go the other way I can get to the sea for the day. Without the number 64 I'd be lost. I couldn't meet my friends for coffee, go the cinema or to hospital appointments. So I say hooray for buses that keep this 71 year-old happy and connected.” - Hilary, Suffolk.
“I don’t have a car and don’t live near a train station, so I rely on buses all the time. I use them to get to my place of worship, to go shopping, to visit my family, to see friends. I’m also on a low income so the cost of bus travel is quite significant, but I don’t have the choice not to use them. I’ve got ME and can’t walk very far so the availability of buses literally determines whether or not I can get to certain parts of the city.” - bus user, Cardiff.
“We live close enough to the city centre that we could walk, but with two children, heavy bags and a hill in the way, it's just easier to get the bus. It goes past my house every fifteen minutes Monday to Saturday . It's hourly on Sundays, which means we're a bit stuck at home - we don't have a car - but that means we have an enforced chilling day.” - Susan, Bath.
“Our family has used buses all our lives from pram to wheelchair, and we worked on the buses too! Every stage of our lives has bus memories alongside, and now in retirement we often take a bus ride down memory lane. Long live public transport and a special tribute to the humble, hard-working, honest bus.” - David, Essex.
“As well as getting to most of the places I need to get to, I enjoy the social chit chat both at bus stops and during journeys. Sometimes I just listen in and this keeps me aware of younger people’s issues. You’d probably call it an element of social cohesion.” - bus user.
“I enjoy catching the bus as they help me stay connected with family and friends and have helped me to be more independent and to see new places I may otherwise never have seen.” – Simon, Cardiff.
“As a mature student I use the bus to get to university and to my weekly training placement, reskilling in my 50s as a counsellor. Also to my school governor meetings, and to go to the theatre, to visit friends and to catch the train to visit elderly parents in another city.” - bus user.
“I use the bus for shopping, to reach my allotment, to travel for work, to reach the railway station, to go to the cinema, to get to the hospital, for almost everything really.” – Rhiannon.
“I regularly take the bus as it's cheap (thank you hopper fare), I can read and see bits of London I wouldn't have otherwise seen. I have fond memories of using the buses in my home town in Hampshire when I was growing up - it was the only way to get around as we weren't old enough to drive. We always used to hop on the bus to go shopping or go to the cinema at the big town which was about 40 minutes away.” - Alys, London.
“I use it to travel five miles to work weekdays. The short walk to and from the bus stop means I walk 40 minutes a day on weekdays. It gets me out in the fresh air too. It means I do not need to buy a car. We are a one car household as a result. It is more social as you see regular dog walkers/fellow travellers and exchange pleasantries.” - bus user.
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