Access to public transport in the spotlight

BORDERERS are being encouraged to share their views on public transport.

A new study is aiming to find out how difficult it is for older people in the region to access key services, particularly in relation to health care. And an important part of that access is the public transport network across the region which is essential for many to access services and facilities.

In recent years local transport has depended on a network of core bus services as well as a number of flexible services in sparsely populated areas. And By 2016 all public transport vehicles will be fully wheelchair accessible.

However, there are many people who still struggle to access transport to key services due to a lack of provision in their area.

This study is looking to identify where this is a problem in both urban and rural communities and is focusing on the Peebles, Hawick, Kelso, Duns and Eyemouth areas although it is recognised that similar problems also exist elsewhere.

It also aims to find out how transport to heath care services can be improved and where integration between different transport providers can be enhanced.

Once the results of the survey have been analysed a number of trial transport schemes will be put into place to test different ways of meeting these needs.

People are being asked to fill in a quick questionnaire at http://www.scotborders.gov.uk/transport.

And as an added incentive one person will be selected at random to receive a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher.

The region’s public transport survey is being carried out by the Change Fund initiative, promoted by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and NHS Borders with a view to using some of the region’s share of £80 million being made available by the Scottish Government during this financial year to improve local health, housing and social care partnerships.

It is part of the Government’s plans to improve services for older people, encouraging health and social care partners to implement local plans for making better use of their combined resources for older people’s services.