Consultation on the Concessionary Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People
The closing date for the Scottish Government’s Consultation on the Concessionary Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People is this coming Friday, 17th November at midnight.
The Scottish Government are consulting on this popular and valued scheme because over 1.3million bus pass holders in Scotland currently benefit from this free scheme for older and disabled people, allowing them to access essential services and participate in social activities that they would otherwise not be affordable, ultimately offering independence to people who rely on bus travel. The cost of the scheme has gone up. Around 70,000 of us reach age 60 each year and that number is expected to rise to 76,000 by 2021. This means that costs will keep rising and the Scottish Government need to think about how to pay for the scheme to keep it running.
The Scottish Government says that they are committed to continuing to provide free bus travel for those who need it the most, and therefore want to look at options to ensure the longer term sustainability of the scheme so that free bus travel can continue to benefit those who have the greatest need. They say, that whatever happens going forward, if you already have a bus pass, or obtain one before any changes are made, you will not lose it! Those with a bus pass will continue to access the benefits of the Scheme.
Current eligibility for the scheme can be found here: https://www.transport.gov.scot/concessionary-travel/60plus-and-disabled/#37403
There are 3 options for how things can go forward in relation to the older age group:
- Option 1 – No Change – keep the eligibility at 60.
- Option 2. Raise the age of eligibility for men and women to the female State Pension Age in one step (this will be 65 from November 2018).
- Option 3. Raise the age of eligibility to the female State Pension age gradually over a number of years. This would be like option 2, but increase over several years instead of in one step.
They are also consulting on giving free travel to Modern Apprentices and the age at which that should happen and whether or not to issue companion cards for disabled children under 5.
There are a number of ways for you to respond to this consultation and ‘Have Your Say!’ – You can reply online at: www.consult.scotland.gov.uk/ or reply by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org