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Petitions

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

Petition

Monday 23 June 2008

Observations

Transport

Pensioner Travel (Kent)

The Petition of pensioners and disabled people of Sheppey and others of like disposition,

Declares that the start time of free bus travel for pensioners and disabled persons has been changed from 9.00 am to later, and that this causes serious inconvenience to pensioners and disabled people.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to change the start time of free bus travel for pensioners and the disabled back to 9.00 am.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.,—Official Report, 3 June 2008; Vol. 476, c. 21p .][P000208]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

The Government is responsible for the statutory national concessionary fares scheme. Since its introduction in 2000 this has provided off-peak travel between 9.30am and 11.00 pm on weekdays (and all times during the weekend) on local bus services.

From April 2008 eligible people have been guaranteed free travel on local bus services throughout England. Previously this was only available for travel in their own area. In offering this improvement, no change was made to the start time for concession.

In addition to the national concession, local authorities are free to offer their residents enhanced concessions—like earlier start times for travel in their area. This option remains available to authorities.

If residents in the Isle of Sheppey were previously able to travel from 9.00 am, this would have been a local enhancement. Swale Borough Council is responsible for concessionary travel in this area, and should be able to explain why they chose to make any change.