Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

More than A to B: the role of free bus travel for the mobility and wellbeing of older citizens in London

Green, Judith, Jones, Alasdair ORCID: 0000-0002-4933-4023 and Roberts, Helen (2014) More than A to B: the role of free bus travel for the mobility and wellbeing of older citizens in London. Ageing and Society, 34 (03). pp. 472-494. ISSN 0144-686X

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (360kB) | Preview

Identification Number: 10.1017/S0144686X12001110


This study contributes to the literature on mobility and wellbeing at older ages through an empirical exploration of the meanings of free bus travel for older citizens, addressing the meanings this holds for older people in urban settings, which have been under-researched. Taking London as a case study, where older citizens have free access to a relatively extensive public transport network through a Freedom Pass, we explore from a public health perspective the mechanisms that link this travel benefit to determinants of wellbeing. In addition to the ways in which the Freedom Pass enabled access to health-related goods and services, it provided less tangible benefits. Travelling by bus provided opportunities for meaningful social interaction; travelling as part of the ‘general public’ provided a sense of belonging and visibility in the public arena – a socially acceptable way of tackling chronic loneliness. The Freedom Pass was described not only as providing access to essential goods and services but also as a widely prized mechanism for participation in life in the city. We argue that the mechanisms linking mobility and wellbeing are culturally, materially and politically specific. Our data suggest that in contexts where good public transport is available as a right, and bus travel not stigmatised, it is experienced as a major contributor to wellbeing, rather than a transport choice of last resort. This has implications for other jurisdictions working on accessible transport for older citizens and, more broadly, improving the sustainability of cities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Cambridge University Press © CC BY-NC-SA 2.5
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2015 11:28
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:13
Projects: 09/3001/13
Funders: National Institute for Health Research

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics