May 23 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
NEARLY half the population of Fenland is at serious risk of being cut off because of the high and rising costs of travel leaving them in “transport poverty”.
Transport pressure group Sustrans coined the phrase to describe how Fenland is the worst affected across the whole of the United Kingdom.
The charity believes transport poverty has become a daily reality for people who struggle to pay for public transport fares in a system that “penalises people who cannot afford a car”.
Even those who can afford their own vehicle are affected by rising fuel costs, leaving communities disconnected and restricting people’s access to jobs, schools and health services.
Sustrans eastern regional director Nigel Brigham said: “For many people across the East, owning a car is a source of debt and poverty – and this is unlikely to change in the long term with fuel prices going up and up.
“For decades Ministers have made decisions based on everyone having easy access to a car, forcing many of us into car ownership we can barely afford and leaving others stranded.
“We need a transport system that works for everyone – not one designed to best suit those who can afford a car.”
Across the East of England as a whole Sustrans says only seven per cent of people are at serious risk of transport poverty - but in Fenland that figure is 49 per cent.
The figures also reveal that 98.52 per cent of residents in Fenland are at least at some risk of transport poverty.
The charity uses three indicators to pint point transport poverty- areas of low income, areas where large numbers live further than a mile from a bus or rail station and areas where it takes longer than an hour to access goods and services by walking, cycling or public transport.