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Thursday, 20 November 2014

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Travel scheme changes Add your comments

SOME will lose out under revised rules governing Copeland Council’s concessionary travel scheme.

It was with “great regret’’ that members of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee felt compelled to recommend the changes, forced by financial constraint.

A change in criteria will mean fewer people will be eligible for travel vouchers, however those who are entitled – those of pensionable age and in receipt of the benefit Pension Credit – will receive a higher allowance in travel vouchers, £28 instead of the previous £18.

If given full council agreement the revised scheme will be implemented from April 1. Eligible disabled people will also get the £28 worth of vouchers.

Under the current scheme, which is discretionary for councils (Copeland is one of the few authorities left in the country still offering it) people over 60 could get either a senior railcard or travel vouchers (worth £18).

Councillors threw out an option to withdraw the scheme altogether as it would, they felt, have a detrimental effect on older people, and the disabled, particularly those who live in rural areas.

A questionnaire sent to those who use the service brought a 41 per cent response in which a quarter of respondents fell within the 65-69 age group and a further quarter within the 70-74 age range.

Out of 21,020 people eligible in the borough for transport assistance, 3,056 people chose to take up the offer.

Under the revisions the provision of the senior rail card would be withdrawn. A voucher-only scheme would be implemented for those who are eligible. But the £28 vouchers could be used to buy a senior rail card if a person wished.

People no longer eligible will be entitled to the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme bus pass, run by the county council. (Anyone eligible for Copeland’s scheme must not also claim under the national one).

Councillors agreed that while budget cuts had to be made, they did not want to scrap the scheme altogether.

However, Coun Elaine Woodburn, leader, warned at Tuesday’s Executive meeting: “It is still probably not sustainable; I can’t, hand on heart, say how long it will last. It will be back on the table next year.’’

Have your say

Is this scheme for all or Are we have a certain age limit for the scheme? I did not get it clearly. If you have any latest news on this scheme, Can you post it. Thank you.

Posted by Jetairways on 18 February 2012 at 06:50

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