The Labour administration’s proposal to eliminate evening and Sunday subsidised buses is a pernicious and ill-considered policy. The result of the policy will be to lock the elderly and young into their homes in the evening and at weekends and prevent them from working, studying and socialising. No other policy could have such a destructive effect on emerging rural economies.
The administration claims to have health and wellbeing as a priority but in reality the removal of rural bus services will trap older people in their homes and deny them the opportunity to socialise, attend entertainments and evening classes, all of which have been identified as important activities in improving wellbeing.
Young people in rural areas will similarly be trapped in their homes, unable to study at evening classes, volunteer or socialise. Young people also form an important part of the workforce in rural economies; the many pubs and restaurants in villages rely on young people to work as waiters and need buses to get to and from work and college. They will be denied the opportunity to gain qualifications, work experience as well as earn money.