Saturday, March 28, 2009
Government reneges on promise for free bus pass in England for the over-60s
Last year - in April - I wrote about this offer in a post on my old blog: Free bus travel for over 60s anywhere in England As of April 1st. 2008 everyone aged over 60, or eligible as disabled, can get free off-peak* bus travel on local buses anywhere in England. (Over 60s in Scotland and Wales already get free national bus travel at any time of the day) *Off-peak is travel between 9.30am and 11pm weekdays and anytime during the weekend. It was good news but it didn't last long. This is the news about the scheme today: End of the road for free go-anywhere bus pass for the over-60s Are you 60 or over and do you fancy a free trip to the seaside? Grab your coat because this weekend is your last opportunity to take advantage of a benefit that the Government is quietly withdrawing. From next Wednesday - April Fool's Day - bus passes issued to the elderly and disabled will no longer be valid on hundreds of services. A year ago, ministers trumpeted the Government's generosity in giving 11 million people free travel on all local buses and coaches in England. Now pass holders will once again have to pay on coaches, park-and-ride buses, open-top bus tours and any services intended “primarily for tourism”. (link via timesonline.co.uk) Charming! And I bet the offer hasn't been changed in Scotland and Wales! Why is it we always get short-changed in England?! I thought it was bad enough that the offer was limited to off-peak bus travel in England - considering that over 60s in Scotland and Wales already were getting free national bus travel at any time of the day - but now most of the offer for over 60s in England has been withdrawn. I think this is outrageous! I am fed up with this Labour government! Edited to add a link from DirectGov (the website of the UK government for its citizens, providing information and online services for the public all in one place): There hasn't been any mention in the news about the free bus service being withdrawn or changed anywhere else in the UK apart from England so I assume this information from the goverment is still correct: Bus passes and coach travel for over 60s Local bus travel in Wales In Wales, if you're over 60, you're entitled to a free bus pass from your local authority. You can use it at any time of the day and are entitled to travel on all local bus services in Wales. The pass can also be used on some long-distance services. Local bus travel in Scotland In Scotland everyone 60 or over is entitled to free local bus and scheduled long-distance coach services within Scotland at any time of the day, including the morning rush hour. This scheme is run by Transport Scotland and you need to apply for a National Entitlement Card to travel for free.