Age Concern head warns seniors suffer most from bus strike
Older people will suffer most from a drawn-out bus strike, a charity leader warned yesterday.
Claudette Fleming, the executive director of Age Concern, said seniors depended more on public transport than other age groups and no bus service made their lives difficult.
“This can cause problems for many of our seniors who really depend on the public transport system to go about their daily lives,” said Dr Fleming.
“Most seniors don’t just sit at home all day – they have business to carry out and things to do, just like the rest of us.
“In fact, being able to be mobile is perhaps even more important to ageing adults as older seniors prefer to interact face-to-face.
“Not everyone is computer savvy, which is why it’s so important to get about and be able to meet people and communicate one-on-one.”
She added: “Public transport is so important to seniors because they are more likely to be dependent on it.
“Some do not have access to private means of transport due to financial, physical or medical restraints and so public transportation is a lifeline for many, particularly considering they don’t have to pay for it.
“We need to keep our seniors as independent and as active as we can and free public transport for has played an essential role in that freedom.”
According to Dr Fleming the buses deserved to be classified as an “essential service”.
She added: “It is essential for seniors because it allows them to access other essential services such as healthcare appointments.
“Older adults also rely on it to get groceries and avoid isolation – it helps them get out and socialise.”
Dr Fleming emphasised she was not taking sides in the dispute between the Department of Public Transportation and the Bermuda Industrial Union over manning rosters.
“I am not familiar with the details of this dispute and I’m certainly not taking any one side.
“I’m just imploring both sides to get it together for the sake of our seniors.”