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Leeds Older People’s Forum
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November 16, 2022

Travel Connections: speeding along

Profile image for Mark Woodsworth

Programme Manager, Travel Connections

Travel Connections has been up and running for several months now, during which LOPF, along with our delivery partners, has arranged for over 200 people to take part in more than 600 trips and activities, ranging from visiting Kirkstall Abbey to cycling around Meanwood Valley Urban Farm. We have travelled across Leeds by taxi, minibus, First Bus, a Happy Cab, bicycles and even a barge

Our participants have been very vocal about the difficulties they face, as older adults,  when it comes to travelling, whether arranging an excursion with friends, going shopping, or simply getting around their local community. Fortunately our delivery partners are leading the way in trying to overcome those issues, including through:

  • digital training and support on various transport apps such as FirstBus, MCard and numerous taxi apps
  • supported trips on public transport to a range of places of interest
  • guided and self-led walks of varying difficulty 
  • overcoming a lack of confidence to ride a bicycle

The Friendly Bus Open Project

Following several meetings with Department for Transport, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and 100% Digital Leeds, we will work to identify barriers for older people which prevent them from applying for bus passes and using apps, such as:

  • not having a valid email address for online applications and app use
  • lack of a device and/or mobile data
  • adequate training and confidence to use devices and apps

LOPF (in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds) has been running the Older People’s Digital Inclusion network of 44 third sector organisations, including Neighbourhood Network Schemes, since 2021. By working with these organisations 100% Digital will identify key partners who (with information received from WYCA) are known to have low uptake on the England national concessionary travel scheme in Leeds.

Roadshows will be planned at various locations, ideally Neighbourhood Networks, during which demonstrations and training will be provided to any members seeking more information. Assistance will also be offered to help members apply for a bus pass and where possible bus buddies may be provided for individuals on their first trip

Travel Connections projects delivered by LOPF

Cycle with Confidence 

A bike maintenance course was held at Leeds Bike Mill and a Cycling with Confidence taster morning was held at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm (with support from Wheels for Fun, Bramley Elderly Action and Cycle North). Due to the onset of winter the next project to be looked at is a ‘Social Spin for Older Adults’ (in partnership with Active Leeds)

Age and Dementia Friendly taxis 

We met with Graham Berwick (Taxi & Private Hire Licensing Manager, Leeds City Council) from which LOPF has been invited to future taxi licence driver training courses and contact details provided for ‘hackney’ taxi companies. 

Let’s Talk Transport 

In partnership with First Leeds and the White Rose Centre, two trips have been planned for late November. On each trip members from three Neighbourhood Networks will be picked up from local bus stops and taken to the White Rose Centre for a mall walk, followed by a spot of lunch and time to reflect. From this event we will collect feedback from participants on the design of First Bus’s new electric vehicles, the journey itself and the facilities provided at White Rose. The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, has been invited to come along.

It’s been a great start to Transport Connections, with enormous enthusiasm from participants and partners alike. My colleague Tracy and I are really looking forward to the next steps on this journey.

Mark Woodsworth
Programme Manager, Travel Connections