MOREBUS has welcomed a report by England’s most senior doctor highlighting the importance of accessible transport for old people. 

Professor Sir Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, outlined the need for transport infrastructure, especially for rural communities. 

He said it allows the elderly to live independent, active and healthy lives for longer. 

Morebus’ managing director Andrew Wickham said: “We understand how vital buses are to those within our communities who are in their later lives. 

“For some customers, the bus driver is the first, and sometimes the only, person they get to speak to in a day. 

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew Wickham (pictured)Andrew Wickham (pictured) (Image: Morebus/Pufferfish PR)

“Crucially, anyone of state pension age (66 or over) qualifies for a free bus pass. Concessionary travel is an essential part of our bus operation - ensuring our community is accessible to all those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to get out and about.” 

The free bus pass scheme here is underpinned by the Department of Transport working with BCP Council. 

It provides free travel and potentially a lifeline for elderly people in the conurbation and can keep them in society. 

“I’m pleased the chief medical officer has recognised this in his report, and I welcome the approach of some of our local authority partners who are particularly supportive of concessionary travel,” Mr Wickham added. 

Bournemouth Echo:

“We will continue to work with them to ensure our buses continue to play such a vital role for older people across our region.” 

Sir Chris called on people to take responsibility for their own health with a good diet and exercise, while calling on the Government to do more to make healthy lives the norm. 

In his annual report published this week, Health in an Ageing Society, he said a “great majority” of people move out of cities and large towns before old age, shifting to coastal and semi-rural areas “often with relatively sparse services and transport links”. 

Providing services suitable for older people in these areas, including NHS care and social services, should therefore be “an absolute priority”, the report said. 

Morebus has seen an expansion of its services over the past year, including covering much more ground in Christchurch where the population age is above the national average, following Yellow Buses’ collapse.