TfN report reveals dire impact of transport cuts on social exclusion in Northern England

Posted: 27 February 2024 | | No comments yet

Transport for the North’s new report emphasises the urgent need for comprehensive interventions to address transportation disparities and mitigate social exclusion in Northern communities.

TfN issues are causing more than 2 in 5 of the most vulnerable residents of the North to be socially excluded

Transport for the North (TfN) has announced that it has released a new report, highlighting the severe impact of inadequate transportation systems on social exclusion in Northern England. Titled “Transport and Social Exclusion in the North in 2023/24,” the report reveals that over 44% of disabled residents, carers and low-income individuals face exclusion due to deficient transport networks.

TfN’s analysis, based on Department for Transport (DfT) statistics, shows a drastic 32.3% reduction in bus service mileage since 2010, significantly affecting residents’ health, finances and daily lives, exacerbating social exclusion.

A survey of 1,407 participants from Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, York and North Yorkshire delved into the impact of transport issues:

  • 44% reported experiencing social exclusion due to transportation problems, with 21% facing multiple exclusionary factors
  • 26% struggled to afford essential items due to transportation expenses
  • 23% experienced significant stress and anxiety during everyday journeys, particularly among disabled residents
  • Alarmingly, 31% of respondents with disabilities refrained from leisure travel in the past month, compared to 4% of non-disabled respondents.

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The survey emphasised the financial strain and loss of independence caused by the lack of viable local public transport options. Many participants shared their struggles:

  • One respondent expressed frustration over high transport costs impacting their budget
  • Another, reliant on taxis due to vision loss, highlighted financial limitations hindering social activities
  • Others detailed financial hardships and mental health challenges stemming from unreliable transport services.

Martin Tugwell, TfN’s Chief Executive, said: “Local public transport is the foundation to grow economies, provide more sustainable travel choices and deliver a good quality of life for all. This new research demonstrates the price residents pay when they don’t have access to decent quality public transport options – financial hardship, poor health, or social isolation.”

Dr. Tom Jarvis, TfN’s Principal Social Researcher, said: “Our research shows that those on low incomes, and informal carers are particularly likely to face severe financial hardship, poor mental health and isolation because of the lack of suitable transport options in their neighbourhoods. For these residents, transport issues often compound the many forms of social disadvantage already faced in everyday life, creating a vicious cycle of social exclusion.”