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Concessionary bus travel: exploring the relationships between concessionary bus travel, health and wellbeing and social connectivity / KELLY ROBERTS

Swansea University Author: KELLY ROBERTS

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DOI (Published version): 10.23889/SUthesis.60537

Abstract

The United Kingdom (UK) is experiencing an ageing of its population. At the same time, society is becoming increasingly mobile. As people spread themselves wider and thinner, policymakers have the challenge of providing suitable mobility options for older people to ensure there is an acceptable leve...

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Published: Swansea 2022
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
Supervisor: Musselwhite, Charles B.
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60537
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Abstract: The United Kingdom (UK) is experiencing an ageing of its population. At the same time, society is becoming increasingly mobile. As people spread themselves wider and thinner, policymakers have the challenge of providing suitable mobility options for older people to ensure there is an acceptable level of social connectivity. To address transport disadvantage and encourage modal shift from car to bus, UK governments (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have introduced concessionary bus travel. The schemes are both popular and successful, however recently there has been a reduction in concessionary pass use linked to poor and inadequate transport options, societal influences and changing mobility needs. The following thesis critically examines the relationships between concessionary bus travel and its implications for the health and wellbeing of older people in maintaining social connectivity and improved quality of life. Conducted in Wales, this study employed a two-phase multiple method approach. The first phase involved conducting semi-structured interviews with identified concessionary bus pass users (n=33), which allowed respondents to share personal experiences in their own words. The second phase comprised of phase one participants completing a seven-day paper-based bus travel diary (n=10), which added a further dimension of frequency and behaviour in real time to the results. Findings show similarities in the way older people experience bus use in the context of their daily lives. However, the findings also demonstrate the subtle differences between the mobility needs of older people in relation to bus use, levels of health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. The thematic analysis led to the creation of The Maintaining Social Connectivity Model which can be understood as the development of policy and transport opportunities in creating an age-friendly community environment and older people’s experiences of this. The model incorporates all elements of the public transport chain (infrastructure, transport options, opportunities and social connections for example) to link social connectivity to the development, contribution, and outcome of concessionary travel and improved health, wellbeing and quality of life for older people. It is concluded that an attractive, useable, age-friendly bus travel environment is achieved when all three elements of connectedness are considered and can be met.
Keywords: Ageing, Concessionary Bus Travel, Social Connectivity, Health and Wellbeing, Older People
College: College of Human and Health Sciences