(UK, News) Bus Users Share AgeUK Concerns On Rural Travel [23July2013]



Bus Users UK, an independent group which champions the interests of bus and coach users and campaigns for better bus and coach services, says it is concerned by the findings of an Age UK report into the effects of cuts to rural bus services on older people.

Despite having free bus travel, the report points to growing isolation among older people as services are reduced and in some cases cut completely. Many older people in rural areas rely entirely on bus services to access healthcare, social activities, community events and shops, as well as visiting friends and family.

The report also concludes that reduced services mean that many people now face a fairly long walk to their nearest bus stop. Delays, cancellations, long waiting times and cold bus shelters add to the problem and make bus travel for older people even more challenging.

Gillian Merron, Chair of Bus Users UK said: “Older people in rural areas face the double challenge of having many services and amenities centralised in towns and cities that they now can’t access because they simply can’t get to them. It undermines the whole idea of providing free bus travel when there’s no bus to travel on.”


The AgeUK report calls for greater consultation on local services to ensure they meet local need.

Gillian added: “Free bus travel for older people has been a great success and has enabled the millions who use the concession to lead active lives. Older and retired people make a huge contribution to society, undertaking volunteering and providing vital childcare support to family members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to return to work.

“What this report proves is that when bus services are cut it isn’t just older people who suffer – we all suffer.”

Bus Users UK,which describes itself as ” the voice of bus passengers”, is an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve bus services across the UK and get more people on board.


End of the line for Ardcath service

Last Stop - the last bus to Ardcath pauses in the tiny village as the regular driver leaves, and a spare driver prepares to return the bus to headquarters at Broadstone


The tiny rural village of Ardcath lost its bus service to Dublin at the weekend as phase 1 of Bus Eireann’s cost-cutting plan took effect, eliminating dozens of lightly loaded rural routes around the Republic, and cutting frequencies on others.

The 102 service from Dublin to Garristown and Ardcath, which ran for the last time on Saturday 27th February 2010 was one of the longest running bus routes in the country, dating back to at least the 1920s, and possibly earlier according to locals

Operated after 1945 by CIE’s provincial department (which later became Bus Eireann) the service was at one time so popular that on Saturdays a double-decker from the Dublin City Services fleet (later Dublin Bus) would cover the route as far as Oldtown. This practice continued until the early 1980s.

In recent years passenger numbers declined drastically as car use increased, to the point that when the final journey operated on Feb 27th, the sole passengers for the entire trip were CBW reporter Gabriel Conway and a transport historian from north Co. Dublin.

The driver for the last trip had been marked in on the route for the past 7 months, since the previous driver “Paddy” had retired after 35 years service. Normally the bus is outstationed in the area, so an extra driver was brought on the trip to allow SC202 to be returned to Broadstone.


To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Today we have a double-feature, with pictures of two consecutive KR/KS type buses remaining in public service in 2002, in very different settings.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

KR205 at Cork on January 3rd 2002

KR205 at Cork on January 3rd 2002

Above: Cork’s KR205 survived to work in the euro-currency era, and is seen here loading for the Ballincollig service at Parnell Place on a cold January evening.

Below: Sister vehicle KR206 was also still in public service in 2002, seen here in the much more rural surroundings of the Beara peninsula, working the 282 Castletownbere to Kenmare service.

KR206 on route 282 near Barrack Cross, Co. Kerry.

KR206 on route 282 near Barrack Cross, Co. Kerry.