Public transport lack ‘pushing drivers into debt’

A lack of public transport in parts of Wales is leaving many drivers in debt due to the high cost of running a car.

That is the conclusion of a new…

A lack of public transport in parts of Wales is leaving many drivers in debt due to the high cost of running a car.

That is the conclusion of a new report entitled Access Denied, which a group of charities has backed and used to call for better bus and rail facilities.

Age Cymru, Citizens Advice Cymru, Save the Children and Sustrans Cymru have been involved in the publication and have argued the situation is one of "transport poverty", as a million people in Wales will need to spend at least ten per cent of their income running a car.

It might be imagined this is a particular problem for those living in the more rural parts of Wales, but one of the case studies shows a very different tale.

Linda Crockett, who works for the BBC in Llandaff, lives just four miles away in the Roath district of Cardiff.

However, she works irregular shifts and this can mean starting or finishing very early or late, leaving her without viable public transport alternatives.

She stated: "That means I don't feel comfortable walking or cycling, as it might mean walking through parts of Cardiff alone in the dark.

"As there aren't early or late running buses that would get me there, I have no choice but to drive."

The result is that she has to spend over ten per cent of her income on running a car and needed to borrow money recently just to get it through the MOT.

Many people may find they end up with more debts as they spend on their cars, as the Welsh Assembly government recently cut £3 million from its local transport subsidy due to a reduction in its overall budget.

The squeeze on drivers may be one of the factors causing people to have to forego saving.

A survey published by MoneySupermarket.com earlier this month revealed 47 per cent of consumers have either reduced the amount they save in the past year or have ceased putting money away altogether.

By Joe White
 

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