Better bus services

Several problems with bus services have been identified during an NRMA audit in NSW

The barriers confronting less mobile bus users have been outlined in a National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) report.

Trips were made by bus and using other modes of public transport on regional NSW and Sydney metropolitan routes, and interviews were conducted with 38 public transport users, as part of the audit.

NRMA president Kyle Loades says the Making Public Transport More Assessable audit was conducted to highlight the very real challenges older and less mobile commuters faced every day.

It came up with some simple measures that the NSW Government could adopt, to make bus services more user-friendly for older Australians.

"Our population is ageing and living longer – this means that there will be a greater reliance on public transport to keep our older demographic mobile and socially engaged," he says.

"The NRMA’s audit identified some of the real challenges older Australians face when using public transport."

Some of the biggest issues identified during the audit are not enough seating for those waiting at bus stops and a lack of courtesy shown by younger travellers toward older travellers.

Other problems identified include a lack of shelter at bus stops and passengers not being given enough time to board.

"As the population ages, these problems will become more accentuated," Loades says.

"There are simple measures that the NSW Government can adopt, and the NRMA looks forward to working with them on making our public transport system more user-friendly."

Some of NRMA’s recommendations to the NSW Government relating to the bus service include providing shelters and more seats at all bus stops, to undertake a public transport courtesy campaign to educate school age passengers and to provide priority boarding for people with limited mobility.

"We are also encouraging younger, more able people to stand up and give up their seats for older commuters," Loades says.

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