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Free bus pass scheme encourages older people to keep fit - Turn2us

Age UK website news item on free bus passesGiving free bus passes to individuals aged 60 and over encourages older people to keep fit, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health and reported on the Age UK website.

The study's findings demonstrate that the free bus pass scheme has potential health benefits for the population that may override Government plans to cut back or even abolish spending in this area.

The research by the School of Public Health at Imperial College London is drawn from analysis of four years' worth of UK National Travel Survey statistics. It found that people with bus passes also walk more frequently and are generally more active. Exercise helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as strengthening muscle and improving mental health.

Other studies have found that undertaking just 15 minutes of moderate daily exercise produces a 12% lower risk of death in people aged over 60.

In the Age UK news article, the study leader, Sophie Coronini-Cronberg, said it was clear that the provision of free bus passes was having a positive impact on the general health of older people. The scheme appears to be heading for a review as the £1.1 billion cost is putting additional pressure on already overburdened public spending. However, she believes that the government should consider the findings of the study before taking action and that a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme may find that the amount spent is outweighed by the benefits gained.  

Read the Turn2us information sheet on Travel costs: people over 60

Source: Age UK (link opens in a new window)/Press Association 

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