Scotland’s transport minister has been accused of “freely admitting” a potential shake-up over free bus travel after he raised “concerns” over their long-term sustainability. Humza Yousaf made the comments just weeks before the results of a wide-ranging consultation on raising the age of eligibilty.
He said it was important to find a balance with the scheme and ensuring affordability, due to Scotland’s ageing population. Mr Yousaf said there was “concern around the longer-term sustainability” of the scheme, with Scottish ministers considering raising the age of eligibilty. He added: “We know that we have an ageing population, an ageing demographic – as most of western Europe does – and therefore we have to find a balance between making this scheme fair, realising the benefits of it, and making it sustainable in the long term.
A bus pass user from Northumberland has had an unhappy experience travelling into Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 2nd June 2016 – she hadn’t realised that her bus pass had expired 2 days previously and found to her cost that there was no mercy shown – PAY THE FARE! she was told.
As we get older we don’t always remember when these dates are coming up. A few, but not many areas send out a reminder letter.
Many local authorities make if quite easy to renew bus passes online, but if you are not sure we recommend checking on your council website – often the County Council – which you can find from our ‘Where to Apply’ pages.
not a wise move if he wants to be re-elected, though with most of the country having to wait to age 66 and London 60+ passes covering tube also it sounds quite generous.
A DEVELOPER building 33 homes in Castle Donington will provide two free bus passes for each household.
Read more: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/new-dream-home-Castle-Donington-come-free-bus/story-28263493-detail/story.html#ixzz3tNEJzfEI
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Dave Hadfield’s had Parkinson’s for five years, but he didn’t let that stop his epic public transport odyssey and his adventures are recounted in a new book, Route 63: Around England on a Free Bus Pass.
When Dave Hadfield was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he feared his globe-trotting days were over.
England on a bus pass
But the 63-year-old journalist made the most of the free bus pass that his disability brought him – and set off on an epic journey around England – all without paying a penny.
Dave boarded the first bus he saw at the stop around the corner from his home in Bolton.
A month later he had travelled nearly 2,000 miles by local services.
The fact that bus passes issued by locals councils can be used in most areas of the country allowed him to complete more than 100 journeys.
Dave’s trip last year took him to the Welsh Borders, west to Land’s End, along the south coast to Dover, through London and up the eastern side of the country to Newcastle, then back through the Pennines and the Lake District.
His adventures are recounted in a new book, Route 63: Around England on a Free Bus Pass.
A STUNNED pensioner had her bus pass confiscated and was then told: “I’m sorry, our records show that you’re dead.”
Maria Illingworth, who is 70 years old and a grandmother-of-four, said she “almost passed out” when a town hall worker said they thought she was deceased.
She said she had been “embarrassed and confused” when the bus driver insisted he had to take her pass from her and is calling on Bournemouth council to ensure the same mistake is not made with anyone else.
The problem arose when she tried to board a Yellow Bus to take her from her Hengistbury Head home to her doctor’s surgery. She had used her free bus pass two days before with no problem but this time it triggered an alert to the driver that it could be being used fraudulently.
He said he had no choice but to confiscate it and Mrs Illingworth had to pay to board the bus.
“It was so embarrassing,” she said. “The bus was full and everyone was looking at me and I just couldn’t understand what the problem could be. It was lucky I had my bag with me and enough money to get on the bus.”
She went straight to Bournemouth town hall and waited to see an advisor.
Bus pass eligibility is too narrow
IN 2006, Jack McConnell’s Labour-LibDem coalition introduced the National Bus Travel Concession Scheme in place of a patchwork of regional concession schemes. That should have been a good thing.
It created a uniform arrangement across Scotland, ironing out inconsistencies and ending disparities. Some local authorities had issued free bus passes to those on the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance, while others had refused.
Unfortunately, the new national scheme failed to level everyone up. Instead, it excluded those on lower-rate DLA.
Now many people whose old cards have expired and are due for renewal are suddenly discovering they don’t qualify for a new pass. For those with significant learning disabilities, this is a devastating blow. They now have to deal with the complexities of making sure they have change for the bus and explaining their destination to the driver. Many people with learning disabilities will never drive a car, or work full-time, or earn much more than the national minimum wage. Yet they will forever be forced to pay full fare on our expensive public transport.
It also means that a 60-year-old man in full-time employment can get a bus pass but his 18-year-old autistic daughter can’t.
I’m all for universality. I’d be up for a publicly funded free transport system for all. But if we are to choose who gets a bus pass, surely people with learning disabilities should be at the front of the queue?
Enable’s Stop the Bus campaign is asking the Scottish