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International Day of Older Persons: our contribution on transport



29 September 2017

Connect Hackney and our colleagues at Ageing Better in Camden, have published a joint paper setting out older people's views on the future of transport in London, to mark International Day of Older Persons on 1 October.

This year's theme for the UN's International Day of Older Persons is "Stepping into the future: tapping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society."

Our document, drawn up after a older people from Hackney and Camden met together to hammer out the key issues, is an example of how older people's knowledge, experience, views and suggestions can help shape a better future for all of us. 

Changes

The paper is a response to the Mayor of London's draft transport strategy and sets out the changes older people want to see in the capital's transport system.

Buses came in for particular attention as they are a key part of Hackney's transport infrastructure – and there were some strong views. "The design of new buses is dreadful. There is a lack of priority seating, seats are too high at the back and stepping up to get in them is very difficult – they are basically inaccessible for me," one participant at the Hackney and Camden workshop said.

Participants also had a lot to say about the importance of getting the right help from staff on public transport. And there was anxiety about the loss of staff at railway stations, where they are often the main source of information and assistance for older people. 

"Reduction in staff and station offices means there is often no support or information available when I need it. This makes me anxious about journeys on public transport," one participant said.

Other issues discussed at the meeting included accessibility across the transport network, signage and information, seating and facilities and help with journey planning.

'Mine of information' 

Connect Hackney programme director Lola Akindoyin said: "We're really happy to mark the UN's International Day of Older Persons, and this year's theme is very important to us. At Connect Hackney we have just started a series of 'community conversation' events, bringing together older people from across Hackney's diverse communities, to help us plan the next three years of our work.

"We have had a great response from local people aged from 50 to 90-plus at the first few events, and we're really looking forward to using their views to shape what happens next with Connect Hackney.

"They have given us lots of pointers about what makes it harder – and what makes it easier – to keep up a social life as we age. And, as with the transport focus group we organised with Camden, the contribution older people have to make really comes through. Their experience is invaluable."

Tell us your views

There is still time if you – or an older person you know – would like to feed in your views on staying socially connected and active. Our survey for people aged 50 and over is open until 5 October. Survey participants also have the chance to win one of four £50 shopping vouchers.

>> Read the Response to the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy here

Some of the participants at the Hackney and Camden transport workshop

Older people taking part in a "community conversation" event on Hackney's Woodberry Down estate.

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