Seniors are one of the most respected groups in societies all over the world. Usually they pay less for museum and other tickets, public transport is also cheaper for older citizens. In fact, in some places around the world seniors can use public transport completely for free and now scientists from the University of Adelaide have conducted a study, which shows that free public transport to seniors is crucial for their independence and wellbeing.
Study included various data from different sources. Researchers considered travel information obtained from thousands of Seniors Cards used on public transport, Office for the Ageing conducted a survey of more than 1300 people, and 60 participants of the study had to fill travel diaries during the time of the research. Scientists looked through all this data and confirmed that at least in the local area of Adelaide free public transport is extremely important for senior citizens. Study also revealed that from the group of local seniors 10% of drivers and 20% of non-drivers use public transport.
Dr Helen Feist, leader of the study, said: “most activities of daily living – such as shopping and paying the bills – are conducted in the local neighbourhood and involve other forms of transport. However, public transport is often used for other life-enriching activities, such as volunteering, or civic and social engagements, going to the movies, visiting friends, or travelling to the city for a day out”. In fact, seniors are using such opportunity to get out their homes to have some fun, shop, meet friends or learn something – every week Seniors Card holders are making more than 150,000 rides on public transport in the Adelaide metropolitan area.
Public transport allows seniors to enjoy a certain degree of independence and autonomy. Instead of staying at home most of the time, they can go out and not spend money on transportation. Results of this research concern local area only, but could be applicable for other places in the world too – freedom of movement is important for everyone.