Diane from Coventry is a volunteer marshal at a local Covid vaccination centre; she’s also looking forward to returning to volunteering at an Acorns Children’s Hospice shop. Buses are very important in her life.
“I have always used buses apart from when I had a car for a couple of years – I had to stop driving because I injured my neck. I have been a ‘Bus Passenger Champion since April 2013 helping to provide feedback to Transport for West Midlands and local bus operators like National Express Coventry to ensure our bus services meet the needs of local passengers as well as visitors.
“I love talking to fellow bus passengers and asking their opinion of bus services because I think it is important to get as many views as possible. I also recognise that sometimes, giving a friendly smile or having a quick chat on a bus journey can really make somebody’s day – especially if they have nobody at home to talk to.
“I haven’t been using the bus as often as I did previously as I’ve been following government advice to only make essential trips. When I have needed to go out to get things like fresh food and toiletries I’ve made sure to plan my trips in advance, which has meant my trips out on the bus have been quick and straightforward.
“As we start to come out of lockdown and are all able to travel a little more freely, I believe it’s really important we all take some responsibility to make some small changes to our lives by considering using public transport more. These small changes can have a big impact in helping to reduce noise and air pollution, and helping to fight climate change.
“One of the things I couldn’t help but notice during lockdown is how much clearer our skies have been and also how much quieter the roads have been. While taking my daily exercise I have found myself thinking: “I haven’t seen the skies as clear as this since I was a kid!” Quieter roads have meant less pollution and that can only be a good thing.”
Diane also used to use National Express’s Ring and Ride service for those who might struggle to use conventional public transport.
“My late husband Gilbert, a World War II veteran, used to use public transport when we went out together but when he started to have difficulties with walking we signed up for the Ring and Ride service as it meant we could still go out together. As he got older he developed dementia and had to use a wheelchair to go out. He was a little frightened of the wheelchair lift on the minibus, but I was able to go with him and reassure him.
“By using Ring and Ride it meant we could book from door-to-door, easily visiting garden centres and other areas outside of the immediate vicinity. These sorts of trips out might not have otherwise been possible or would have been more difficult for us on the local bus service as we needed more direct door-to-door transport.
“Just because we are mature does not mean we should not have access to public transport. It’s important that we remain mentally and physically active and public transport means we can continue to get out and enjoy our lives.