“I wouldn’t want to get on the bus”: Older Adult Public Transit Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Léa Ravensbergen*, McMaster University , Bruce Newbold, McMaster University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban Geography, Planning Geography
Keywords: COVID-19, Older Adults, Public Transportation, Bus, Accessible Transportation Services
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This presentation reports on older adult (65+) public transit users’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, a group more vulnerable to severe illness from the virus. Drawing on thirty-one semi-structured interviews with public transit users in Hamilton, Ontario, results highlight inequalities between those with access to a car and those dependant on transit. Further, we examine the impact of the policies taken to reduce viral transmission on the City’s buses. Some policies taken to reduce viral transmission on the City’s buses resulted in additional challenges for older adult riders. For instance, boarding from back doors is physically strenuous for those with declining mobility. Those who use the city’s Accessible Transportation Services reported increased travel satisfaction during the pandemic. We conclude by stressing the importance of public transit, as it is an essential service to many older adults.

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