A hospital worker has resorted to renting a moped so that she can get to work every day – because the current cost of living crisis makes public transport too expensive. Nicola Nolan, from Pembrokeshire, rents the moped from the Preseli Rural Transport Association after her motorbike broke down and she couldn’t afford to buy a new one.
On top of that, she says the rural bus service is too expensive and only runs near her home twice a day. The cost of running the moped is less than £10 a week, which is cheaper than running a car or even paying for the bus fare every day.
Ms Nolan told BBC Wales: “Where I live, which is in the countryside, there are two buses a day and a shuttle which you have to book in advance. It’s helped a little but it’s meant having to change my shifts at work. You have to plan ahead and plan in advance which isn’t always possible. The scooter is something like £8 to fill the tank which will last me a week and it’s a lot cheaper than running a car and anything else.”
As well as public transport, the cost of living crisis currently engulfing the UK is hitting people in the pocket in other ways. As food and energy prices soar, families across the UK are feeling the biggest squeeze on their incomes in a generation, and are left to make impossible choices between heating their homes or eating. You can read more about how it’s affecting people’s lives here.
Sustrans Cymru, a charity aiming to make it easier for people to walk and cycle in Wales, has said that public transport is seen as “a luxury” for many people in the current climate due to the cost of living crisis and the impact and aftermath of Covid-19. “Too many people are struggling with access to transport,” the charity’s director Christine Boston told BBC Wales.
“The impact of Covid and the cost of living crisis means that transport is becoming a luxury for some people who can afford it and everyone else is excluded. The majority of local authorities have over half their populations paying more than 10% of their household income on transport, which is the level considered for being in transport poverty.
“”It is even worse in valleys communities with more than half of households facing those costs. Vulnerable groups are affected even more like older people who struggle to access health care, as well as children who are unable to access after school clubs and people with disabilities who find themselves struggling to access work as a result.”
The Welsh Government has announced a package of support measures to help people cope with the cost of living crisis. The minister for finance and local government, Rebecca Evans, said last month: “Since last November, we have invested more than £380 million in a package of support for low income households to meet the immediate and severe pressures on living costs.
“This included funding for the Winter Fuel Support Scheme which provided a £200 payment for eligible households to help meet the cost of essential bills over the winter. We will also provide additional support for fuel costs for the coming winter and are considering how we can widen the scheme to ensure more people receive the £200 payment. The package of support will also fund a £150 cost-of-living payment for households in Council tax bands A-D and to all households who receive support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
“A further £25m is available to local authorities in the form of a discretionary fund to provide additional and targeted support for households struggling with the massive surge in the costs of living. A further £15m has been made available for the Discretionary Assistance Fund to provide financial support for those experiencing extreme financial pressures, extending the additional support until the end of March 2023. In addition to this, we will continue to put pressure on the UK Government to use the significant levers they have to support the most vulnerable through the difficult times ahead.”
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