CPT President Jane Cole contemplates the importance of good road infrastructure for bus users

I take the maintenance of my personal wellbeing very seriously and ensure that I get at least three 5km runs in per week.

Over the past month, due to rainy weather, dusk has come earlier, the nights have drawn in, and I have taken to road running rather than country trails.

My thinking time while running has been centred on the roads’ pathways and, in particular, the bus stops that I pass.

When an Alexander Dennis E400 Palladium bus comes along looking resplendent in its livery, I often observe customers enjoying its warm, dry interior, leather seats and wi-fi, and I cannot help thinking that this is so different to how uncomfortable it can be walking to a stop and waiting for a bus.

Research tells us that regular bus use includes routinely walking around a mile a day, and this has health benefits such as protection against disease and improves the person’s life expectancy.

People travelling in buses and cars are shielded from harm by local highway authorities which maintain and repair roads to mandatory high standards.

In this way the local authority highways departments make critical contributions to economic development and bring important social benefits to villages, towns, and cities. This is the same as bus customers do in every local community – so why are they left out in the cold?

With this in mind, the importance of good infrastructure for bus customers to walk and wait together with the provision of digital information and good lighting needs to be recognised by decision makers within highway authorities Communities need attractive, safe and functional bus shelters installed and maintained along with the ongoing work done to our highways to ensure that a range of stakeholders get a fair share of these budgets.

Roadside bus waiting facilities are regularly relegated to a no man’s land that leaves them as an afterthought. Dependent on their location or on how active the local authority is discharging their responsibility for their upkeep, they are often seen as revenue cows with advertising or neglected street furniture at the mercy of vandals and worse.

It’s accepted that the condition of a road surface is an important factor in preventing motorists from having accidents, so it seems to me that having fl at and safe walkways to bus stops will improve bus users’ health and wellbeing. All I ask is that bus customers be given the same investment per person as motorists when councils contemplate their budgets to upgrade and maintain roads.