The main attitude to public transport was that,although it was not a realistic alternative for thevast majority of residents, it represents anessential servicefor those without access to a car,even given the paucity of services in both thevillages:A lot of the elderly people in the village without acar can’t do without the bus.Attitudes to transport policyAlmost without exception, the respondents inboth groups expressed the unprompted opinionthat the Government’s current transport policyis based on ‘attacking the motorist’ and a desireto ‘get the cars off the roads’. There wasconsiderable concern about the impact this hason rural dwellers, particularly those living onlow incomes. We were told that if the policycontinued they would have no option but to paythe additional cost even at the expense of otherhousehold needs:There would be less money for the kids’ shoes.Something else would have to suffer. The amountof times you would go out socially, taking the kidsout.I’d have to think about moving or get a really wellpaid job.There was little confidence that additionalsupport for public transport services couldprovide an effective solution in rural areas.Personal safetyBoth villages were described to us as generallyvery safe places to live and relatively crime free;however, there were some concerns aboutspeeding vehicles and the risk to children:Nobody slows down for the village speed limits.You’ve got dead straight roads and sometimesyou’re through the speed limit before you realisethey are there.Hidden deprivation, BristolIn most of the case study areas, focus groupswere held in areas housing predominantly low-income groups. In Bristol, however, theintention was to recruit people living in ‘hiddenpockets’ of deprivation in a relatively affluentarea of the suburbs. The aim was to directlycompare the experience and attitudes of thisgroup to those of their more affluentneighbours. It was thought that the needs andproblems of disadvantaged individuals in suchsituations are often entirely bypassed by policyintervention and any exclusion may therefore beexperienced more acutely. To this end, werecruited a group of residents living inWestbury-on-Trym village and a group ofresidents from the adjacent Southmead councilestate.Lifestyle experiencesIt became immediately apparent that theSouthmead residents were very angry and bitterabout a whole range of issues to an extent thatwe had not experienced in the other case studyareas. They were also deeply sceptical aboutnational and local government policies toaddress the needs of low-income families andareas of social deprivation, and felt that modernlife was increasing social exclusion.
30Transport, the environment and social exclusionFurthermore, there was a deep feeling ofmistrust in institutions and the policy-makers:The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. TheGovernment don’t seem to realise that they’rethe ones making the areas poorer and they aremaking people turn against them because they’renot helping.