It is a problem that can affect so many people; the cost of travel. For some, it can be something as simple as filling up the car with much needed fuel, or working out if you have enough money to pay for bus or train fare. Either way, if you are a young person or an adult, it is always going to be a problem. At the moment, fuel costs for motorists are actually going down; especially helped by competitors vying for customers, but for those of us who are reliant on public transport, costs are in fact on the rise.
As a 21 year old, I have been reliant on buses for some time, partly due to the fact that I needed to catch one on a daily basis whilst studying at college; the other being that I cannot afford to learn to drive but need the ability to travel in order to ensure I have some semblance of a social life and also have the ability to attend job interviews. Whilst some companies offered student discounts, the bus company that I had to use in order to attend college did not. Our government is always encouraging members of the public to access public transport; but are they doing anything at all to help those in need? I think not.
I am currently on Job Seeker’s Allowance, and am classed as disabled; JSA is the only benefit I am currently claiming. I am undertaking a work placement at the moment, but out of my £57.35 a week (which is paid in every two weeks) I am only able to keep £20.00 of it in order to ensure other costs are met; such as the bedroom tax, council tax, rent, food bills and other expenses at home are paid for. The £20.00 I receive for myself I use to make sure that I have enough to travel via the bus to various interviews, but when it is £6.00 plus in cost, it is a rather large slice out of the income.
Not to mention the fact that I need to also keep a bit back in order to pay for any medical related bills, such as glasses. It seems to be the case of those who live further away from “job hotspots” i.e. urban city areas are afforded more travel discounts, even though necessarily they are in a better travelling position to someone in a small town such as the one I am currently living in.
I was having a talk with my job centre advisor and he too understood that for those of us with an inability to drive; we are somewhat limited for the jobs we can apply for. Yes, that job in the next town may start at 9am, and normally I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but when the first bus would only get you there for 9.30am it makes the job application somewhat pointless.
The conservatives in the last election promised the country the NHS would be safe in their hands; fast forward a few years and we have patients being turned away due to hospitals being unable to cope with the sheer volume of patients and not as some result of an outbreak of a virulent disease. They and the liberal democrats promised to increase funding to local councils in order to provide better services for the general population. Since their rise to power, we have seen a number of youth services closed; council budgets slashed, and several job losses. The question is, will they ever learn from their mistakes? Only time will tell, until then, how long will members of the public have to stand for rising transport costs to access services in their local communities?