Age Friendly Bus Guide - Next Steps
Poor transport accessibility has regularly arisen as an issue during our time working in Bolton. Residents have consistently highlighted that difficulties with bus journeys can be a barrier to getting out and about.
Ambition for Ageing Bolton asked several bus service providers if they would be willing to design an 'age-friendly bus journey' training package for their drivers. First Group responded, stating that they already have a strict training programme but do want to look at how they can provide more age-friendly journeys. They encouraged us to develop an awareness-raising document that they could give to their staff.
We conducted a formal consultation with locals, and produced the Age-Friendly Bus Guide. The guide was informed by feedback from older residents from various community groups, forums and sheltered housing schemes and aims to offer bus drivers insight into what older community members feel makes an age-friendly bus journey.
The guide has been shared with First Group, who have agreed to circulate the document amongst new recruits during the induction and training process.
The project has enabled older people in Bolton to have their views heard, and ensured that bus drivers are aware of their needs. As a result they feel listened to, and that it is worthwhile speaking up about the challenges they face.
“It's good that First Group understand the importance of age-friendly bus journeys, and I am glad to have been part of designing the guide. I would like to see it rolled out everywhere.”
- People’s Platform member
This piece of resident-led action was supported by strong partnership working and people’s willingness to participate in designing the spaces they live in. In co-design, it is important to avoid trying to be ‘in control’, pre-determine the project endpoint, or be the lead solution finder.
Rather, coordinators should trust that collaboration between beneficiaries and service providers can bring successful, positive outcomes, and maintain an open and flexible approach. Co-design can be intensive, and it is important to allow sufficient time to carry out the process.
Bolton’s People’s Platform Over-50s Forum want to see the guide used far and wide. They are currently working with A4A to create a cover sheet outlining the background to the project. They plan to take the completed guides with them on bus journeys and share with drivers they feel need some guidance.
The Forum would also like to recognise and celebrate positive experiences they have on bus journeys, and are designing a 'thank-you’ message which will be shared with drivers after pleasant bus journeys.
Ambition for Ageing Bolton Senior Project Officer, Age UK Bolton
T: 01204 382411