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Travel and Society

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This social and economic discrepancy in the UK society has raised issues of social equity, and social exclusion and the transport facilities offered to the disabled and the people with lesser mobility have been debatable. The essay tries to make a probe into the travel experiences of a middle class family in society, pointing to the social and statistical data including government documents pertinent to travel and society and issues of social equity, social inclusion and/or disability and mobility.
The case study under consideration is that of Jack’s family who lives in the rural village of Rookhope. He works in the city and is happily married to Jane, who works as a local cleaner in Rookhope itself. He has got two children- Cathy and Christopher. Cathy, his elder daughter, studies in the college in the city of Wolsingham. Christopher, the youngest son, has paralyzed legs and is partially disabled. He is an upper primary student who studies at Stanhope, a place between Rookhope and Wolsingham. When it comes to travel and transport the family faces the issues of affordability and accessibility as they cannot afford a car with the meager income they received. Thus, they had to resort to the public transport in the form of bus services. Due to the non accessibility of sufficient bus services in the right time, Jack finds it highly difficult to see that his children reach their destination in time. It was also the same with him as he used to be late to the office if one of the servicing buses was delayed or was not on service on a particular day. To add to the fuel, the disability of the youngest son made their transport even more miserable as he had to be carried on the wheel chair. It was really a pathetic condition as he had to spend almost 10 percent of his monthly income for the purpose of the transport. Another major setback was that for the health care and higher educational purposes they had to travel all the way from Rookhop to Wolsingham as their village did not have these facilities. The case study, thus, offers insight into many of the issues connected with travel in the UK society.
It is evident from the above case study that Jack’s family and the low income class villagers are subjected to social exclusion in transport access. According to Giddens (1998, 104) ‘Exclusion is not about graduations of inequality, but about the mechanisms that detach people from the social mainstream’. Jack’s family struggles to follow the main stream of the society as they are cut off from the rest of the people as they are negated of easy access to travel. This predicament of the family can have far reaching implications for the social, political and cultural lives of its members. This is very well put by
Walker and Walker (1997) when the authors describe seclusion as "a dynamic process of being shut out, fully or partially, from any of the social, economic, political and cultural systems which determine the social integration of a person in society." (Walker and Walker 1997).
The Social Exclusion Unit has identified disparities in the access of transport as a major barrier for effective social inclusion and has undertaken remarkable measures to overcome the problems faced by the socially excluded groups in the provision of travel services. The report published by the