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March 2022

Testimonies from the Kent Karrier Bus Service

Isolation and loneliness has been reported to affect elderly and disabled people more than non-disabled people since the pandemic started, 46% saying it has affected their mental health as a result.

The Kent Karrier service is more than just a shopping bus to many who use it. It is a focal point for socialising, a means to get out of one’s home and reduce the feeling of isolation, more importantly an opportunity to interact with other people in one’s community. We have collated stories of gratitude for the door to door assistance the drivers who assist them and how we make it possible for those most in need are testament to just how vital the service is to the passengers who use it.

Feedback from our Kent Karrier passengers reported that everyone had praise and thanks for it the service provided, and the drivers who help them during their journeys. Others commented:

“I’m 88 now, and carrying all my shopping and going all the way back home is just impossible for me. I just can’t do it. But I love the independence of being able to go shopping again thanks to these buses, and going around the store by myself. Kent Karrier lets me do that, helps me take my independence back. I can’t get out of the house otherwise. Lots of us live alone but we’ve made friends on the bus which we wouldn’t have without it. It’d be really isolating and lonely if we didn’t have the Kent Karrier service anymore.” – Mrs G

“It’s more of a social bus as much as it is a shopping bus. I get to meet new people and chat with them on the journey. It’s great fun being able to see them each week.” – Mrs B

“My husband and I are both 86 years old. He’s had two strokes which affected his eyes so he can’t drive, and actually had his license taken away because of it. And my son has cerebral palsy so he can’t drive either. Between being his carer and everything else, we really rely on this bus service just to get around and get to the shops safely. There is no alternative for us. Waiting outside of r a regular bus isn’t good for my son, and even if we did manage to go on them, we wouldn’t be able to get back with all our shopping too. Kent Karrier is a lifeline for us and without it, we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. How can we support ourselves without this service to help? Without the wonderful drivers who assist me and my son and my husband? It would be impossible to get anything we need.” – Mrs E

“Until you’re on one of the runs, on the buses, you don’t realise just how important it is to the passengers. There have been many meaningful moments for me, but especially on the days when, you come back and they recognise you as their driver, it’s always nice to see. It’s a chance for them to socialise, really. It’s more than just getting on a bus and going back and forth.” – Driver N

 

These are just some of the testimonies and feedback we have received from regular passengers of our Kent Karrier service, and it would be unjust not to listen to those who lives would be affected by the proposed withdrawal of this service.

If this has impacted you, or you know someone who would be affected by this bus service being withdrawn, please fill out the consultation linked here and join us in fighting Kent County Council’s proposal to terminate this vital service: www.kent.gov.uk/bussavings

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