Council disappointed at Government bus mistakes

March 17, 2006 5:00 PM

Executive City Councillor for Planning and Transport, Jenny Bailey, has expressed her disappointment with the Government's implementation of free off-peak bus travel for pensioners.

The Government scheme funds free travel only within districts between the hours of 09.30 and 23.00. Cambridge City Council is introducing a scheme that goes beyond this to all free travel for the over 60s up until the last bus (at 3am), subsidised travel over district borders and a 24 hour free travel service for the registered blind.

Cllr Jenny Bailey commented:

"Free travel for the over 60s is a great way to help older people get out of their houses. This is why Cambridge City Council wanted to provide free travel for pensioners across district borders not just within the City.

"However, because of the way the Government has implemented the scheme we have had to negotiate with neighbouring district councils to try to achieve it.

"South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire District Councils are capped by the Government and so cannot afford to run such a scheme. Instead we've had to settle, for the moment, for subsidised travel for the elderly outside of the City boundaries.

"The system we've been given really is a mess. What we need is a UK-wide scheme providing free travel for the elderly which would be less confusing and would be much easier and cheaper to manage. We will continue to lobby the government to introduce a UK-wide scheme which tackles these problems."

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