The government have announced that free off-peak bus travel for older and disabled people will be kept in place for the foreseeable future.
The service has been in place since 2007, having been brought in through the passing of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. This legislation has now been amended so it can continue without having to be revised every five years, as previously legislated.
The scheme aims to ensure older and disabled people can remain connected with their local services and communities through public transport, and provides £250 million every year for buses in England, £40 million of which is used to fund commercially viable routes which may not be considered socially necessary.
Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani said:
“Being able to get out and about is hugely important for older and disabled people to keep their independence and play a role in their local community.
“Buses help connect people, homes and businesses and nearly 10 million people in this country are already benefitting from free off-peak bus travel.
“The legislation underpinning our important bus pass scheme is now set for the future, meaning this group will be able to access their local services and amenities.”
Francesca Di Giorgio, Inclusion Policy Manager at RNIB said:
“Blind and partially sighted people rely on bus services to get to work, visit friends and family, and be part of the community. Buses are a vital lifeline bringing independence to many people with sight loss.
“We are really pleased that the concessionary bus pass scheme will continue to run, guaranteeing free off-peak bus travel for people registered blind and partially sighted.”