25 January 2006

Pensioner travel

Omnibuses: Miserable Day

Excellent and even handed update on some councils complaining about lack of funding for the free pensioner travel scheme from the excellent Omnibuses blog. Well worth and read any day.

On this subject I had an interesting email today as a result of my previous postings

You don't know me but I live in Plymouth and am interested in buses because I use them all the time (not being a car owner). I am also disabled and coming up to my sixtieth birthday so have a special interest in free bus travel after April 1. As I understand it, from info gleaned from the Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council web sites, I will be entitled to free travel within the city boundary but my blue Countywide Life Pass will be withdrawn and I will not be able to get any concessionary fares outside Plymouth. Totally unfair since Devon residents will be able to enjoy free travel all over Devon.
Anyway I have emailed gary Streeter who replied that he was not aware of the situation but would look into it. I also emailed 10 Downing Street (well why not...in for a penny, in for a pound). I have no idea if my protests will make any difference. I doubt if many pensioners are aware of the coming situation.

I think this is going to grow as more people get to understand just what is happening!

Other items in the news today:

Bus firm waives fares for trainers of guide dogs for the blindFour-legged guide dog recruits are being given a helping hand in their training thanks to Plymouth Citybus.Guide dog trainers and their pups will be able to travel around the city free of charge thanks to a generous offer by the city bus operator.The company has teamed up with Guide Dogs for the Blind to offer puppy walkers free bus travel to boost the training and development of future guide dogs.Young guide dog pups start their training at just six-weeks-old, and a crucial part of it is learning to cope with public transport.They spend most of their first year with a puppy walker volunteer, receiving basic obedience training and getting used to the noise and bustle of the city environment.The new initiative will play a big part in helping the future guide dogs get used to public transport and busy environments at an early age.Terry Smith, of Guide Dogs for the Blind, described the scheme as 'immeasurably valuable' and said it would save the charity hundreds of pounds a year.He said: "These pups are the guide dogs of tomorrow and it is vitally important that they are exposed to the different environments they are likely to come across in later life."Familiarising these pups with buses in Plymouth means they learn well and it is very welcome by us."Puppies receive their initial training all over the country but Plymouth is one of the hubs. It is vital they get used to buses so from the cost point of view this arrangement will save the charity hundreds of pounds a year."Puppy walkers issued with a special pass and accompanied by a puppy will be allowed free travel on any Citybus service.Phil Smith, operations manager of Plymouth Citybus, said the arrangement with the guide dogs charity was an extension of the company's commitment to serving the whole community, including disabled passengers."I am sure many of our passengers will enjoy seeing the puppies when they come on board the bus," he added.

The South West Public Transport Users' Forum has hit out at the decision by FirstGroup to increase some bus fares by 20 per cent. Joe Lynch, vice-chair of the group, said: "These staggering fare increases are an unacceptable New Year's present from a company which delivered a poor service to bus users in 2005."The increases will cause considerable financial hardship for many bus users who will find that they cannot afford to undertake essential trips to places of work, schools, health centres etc."First Devon and Cornwall is going to have to work very hard to demonstrate that these new higher bus fares represent value for money to the user."Bus companies throughout the South West are facing rising costs and there is clearly the need for greater financial support from central and local government in order to mitigate the impact of fare increases on customers."City bus firms announced at the end of last year that bus fares would have to increase in the face of spiralling oil prices.

1 comment:

  1. Graham... many thanks for your continued kind comments about the Omnibuses blog. There's a link back to yours from the Omnibuses' front page, in case you haven't noticed


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