The title Omnibus has a number of definitions in its purest form the latin describes it as meaning “For All”. Now I do not know about you but I really like that word and the concept that sits behind it, I have always viewed the humble bus as being accessible and inclusive to all members of society. Irrespective of age, gender, faith, and race.
To me it has always been the great common denominator where all men and women are equal (Unlike in the past in the USA and South Africa where colour bars were imposed, but thankfully not anymore!). No, today I see the bus as the last bastion of freedom and independence where anyone at anytime can enjoy the joy of travel and free movement.
However, as i get ever older and look around me as I see those who I have grown up with get older and all that goes with it, I have begun to to have a little ponder about human frailty and how it catches up with us all. We might like to think that we live for ever, but we do not. Age catches up with us all, now I am not exactly sure at what age people like me stop wearing jeans and T shirts and overnight appear in slacks, sports jackets and start wearing hats when driving cars etc but at some point it seems to happen.
I work on the assumption that if at least think young then you might act young, however that is great except of course when your mental health starts to change. Dementia is one of the biggest illnesses of our generation. It is surprising just how many people suffer from its ravages, and just what an affect it has on those who not only suffer but for those who care for them.
Indeed this got me thinking about the whole mental health and public transport question. My first point of reference took me back to my teenage years when legendary Brummie comedian Jasper Carrot shot to fame with his famous “Nutter on the bus sketch”. Now it was genuinely funny but it kind of brought attention to one aspect of people using public transport. Namely the fear of meeting someone who was the nutter, or to be more generous and accurate the person suffering from a mental health disorder.
This taboo has long since been ignored but now at long last one person is starting to really examine this vital issue. My dear chum Meera Rambissoon FCILT from the excellent TAS Consultancy Partnership is presently conducting surveys with both bus operators and bus users to gauge some opinions about this key subject. I would urge the industry get right behind her on this. And I will tell you for why, most of us will suffer from some sort of mental heath issue it could be depression, anxiety, stress, dementia, the list goes on. And even if you do not you can rest assured that someone close to you will.
So come on join the revolution, the chances are that at some point it might be you needing that help that right now does not exist.