Travel with Confidence in Borders

Transport at the heart of rural wellbeing

Rural Wisdom is a project working in both Wales and Scotland with older people in rural communities. Whenever we ask what would help, transport is always near the very top of the list!

Transport has been something we have been looking at in Borders for the last year or so.  The main issues that come up can all be grouped into 4 categories which are:

  • Connecting the rural towns & villages
  • Bus connections & timetabling
  • Getting to and from medical appointments
  • Bus stops & pavements

Covid-19 transport barriers

The coronavirus pandemic has added another – Fear to use public transport.

Towards the end of the first lockdown Rural Wisdom put together an online questionnaire in partnership with Living Streets Scotland and SBC Passenger Services, asking people for their experience of using public transport before & during lockdown & what concerns they had if any about using it as restrictions were eased.

Many of the older people who responded to the questionnaire responded by saying that they were concerned about

“Good cleaning/hygiene to protect from Covid-19”

“Not being able to use cash”

“Social distancing – 2m rule”

“Concerned about lots of people in confined spaces on the bus”

Co-producing a community film on Covid-19 bus safety

After reading all the concerns we approached Borders Buses about the idea of making a video to show people:

  • What to expect when they are travelling on the bus
  • What they should do to keep themselves & others safe
  • What Borders Buses are doing to ensure their buses are as clean & Covid-safe as possible

Borders Buses were amazing, we were given a bus and driver for a day, as well as access to the cleaning process at the depot. We also gathered a few residents from Newtown St Boswells (most of whom had not used the bus since March) to star in the video! We had a great day with one resident telling us

“Borders Buses are making every effort to keep bus users safe. It was really interesting to see all the work undertaken. I hope this reassures everyone, it certainly reassured me.”

You can watch the video here, or over on Outside the Box’s Vimeo channel.

Many thanks to all our partners who helped us to make the video, including Border Older People’s Champion &  Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol who added

“I am really pleased to have been part of the filming of Travel with Confidence.  If everyone follows the rules, we can all travel safely. Wear a mask, stay apart from others, use the hand sanitiser and enjoy your journey!”

We would love to hear what you think about the video!