Most of us have a grandparent or an old neighbor who rides the bus. It might be their regular commute to work (if they are not yet retired), or it might be them travelling to get some work done or pay bills in the city offices. It might be them carrying on with their everyday shopping or it might be them travelling for leisure. Whatever the reason for their travels might be, it is evident that the travel behavior of the aged is such that they choose public transportation over other modes of travelling. If you are one of those people who want to make transportation available for old people, you can look for buses for sale near to you before moving on with your idea. The thing about travelling in the public buses is that it in a certain sense it makes you independent. Imagine a situation in which the elderly have to always depend on others to drive them around. They have to look up to their children or grandchildren or a friendly neighbor to drive them to the dentist, or to the store. Let’s be very frank here, depending on someone else for something as simple and everyday as travelling, is not very flattering for our self-esteem. The feeling of being unnecessarily dependent on somebody is not a healthy feeling. And then, it doesn’t matter how much your loved ones try to convince you that driving you around is not a burden or a chore for them, it is really not such a good idea if there are alternatives available that you can take up. And so, taking a bus becomes a step towards self-sufficiency.
The elderly can just as well drive themselves around the city. But most of them choose not to, for safety reasons of course. As old age takes its toll on their reflexes and vision, it becomes unsafe for them to be behind the wheels especially if they are expected at night and for long stretches of time. Hence, the only option that remains to them is to ride the bus. Taking a bus is a holistic experience for the old as it not just ensures their independency, but it also serves to ensure that they have a comfortable, hassle free journey. Sitting on a bus especially for long distance travel, gives them the space to relax and rest. They can take this time to catch up on their reading, or just idly look out the window and admire the landscape. They are free to engage in conversations with fellow travelers. They might even sleep off for an hour or two, if they have trusted travelling companions with them. And who knows, they might even meet some like-minded people and make some friends along the way.
All these things are activities that will not be available to them if they are driving themselves to their destination. The one attribute that is common to all old people, and comparatively less accessible to the young, is the tendency to indulge in nostalgia and memories. This has to do with time – both in terms of Age and in terms of Social Changes. Old age is an age where it doesn’t take much trigger to be hit by a wave of nostalgia. It could be something as commonplace as an old bus route that gets them thinking about how much the city has changed since their time. But that’s the thing about Nostalgia. It hits you when you least expect it. It sneaks up to you, sweeps you off your feet and takes you back to a very long time ago. And all you can do is reminiscence about how it was like earlier on in life. Time changes and with it changes the world around us, and we as an individual.
Old people with decades of memories with them, find themselves going back in time by the slightest push of the present. Their present, a nostalgic view out of the bus window, leads them to reminiscence about their past relationships – with others, with themselves and with different places that they used to visit a lifetime ago. This is what Nostalgia does to old people for whom there are a lot of memories to be nostalgic about. And bus journeys are a constant source of nostalgia. The old people, who have seen the city age with them, can clearly spell out the differences and how much the city has changed over the years. And a bus journey around the city is exactly what they need to realize that the park that they used to come to play in with their friends after school a long time ago, is now a three-storied supermarket. And all that remains of that park, is a shadow in their memories, faded with time, but still alive. This is how a bus connects the old people with their lives – old and present. Through resurfacing memories that they didn’t remember they had. The bus itself is an agent that triggers these old memories. As they wait for the bus at the stand, they would remember how they used to wait for school all those years back.
It brings back a lot of memories for them. This is how bus journey becomes a connection between the old people and their past lives. And this is why bus journeys are so significant for old people. It relaxes them in a way that nothing else does. And it is therapeutic for them in the sense that it brings back memories. Hence, bus rides is something that the elderly are not able to give up on for the sake of old times.