29 July 2007

More Freedom for pensioners

Plymouth's pensioners can now travel on local buses outside the city for just £1 - nine months before the Government brings in its nationwide free scheme.Pensioners and the disabled already travel free on buses in Plymouth. The new scheme, launched yesterday by First buses, means they can now go further afield with a £1 each way 'add on' fare.The concession will be available on any First Devon and Cornwall bus. The journey must start or end in Plymouth.Pass holders can board a bus and ask the driver for the £1 'add on' ticket.

Marc Reddy, the Managing Director of First in Devon and Cornwall, said: "This new commercial offer demonstrates our commitment to providing value-for-money travel in Devon and Cornwall, and our close working relationship with Plymouth City Council."

This is excellent news for local pensioners as it does at last open up more of the area to them. Its a good move by First too as its bound to increase their passenger numbers this summer and perhaps more importantly give them lots of brownie points with the local authorities involved. Well done Marc!

There is a hint at the troubles ahead though:

Gordon Brown announced plans to allow pensioners and the disabled to use local bus services anywhere in the country in 2006, saying extra funding would be made available so the scheme could start by April 2008. The Local Government Association has accused the Department for Transport of dragging its feet over hammering out details of the new scheme.

I am beginning to see this same sort of comment coming oit across the country as local authorities are struggling with the present scheme and are still waiting to hear whats going to happen when the national scheme starts. Its not long to go now!

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