Free travel throughout the UK for Worcester concessionary bus pass holders
The concessionary travel scheme which allows free bus travel across Worcestershire for the over 60s and registered disabled passengers is set to be extended from next April to cover the whole country. This follows the Royal assent of the Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007. The new concessionary bus pass will enable free travel on local buses across the whole of the UK.
The scheme has already been of great benefit to many people by improving access and giving greater independence to travellers. It has also helped reduce the amount of congestion in and around the city and cut down on the amount of carbon emissions which contribute to climate change.
The Worcestershire Concessionary Travel Partnership is working to introduce a smartcard system for the launch of the scheme in April next year. Existing bus pass holders who have not yet supplied a photograph should do so now, either by sending a passport-style photograph to the Customer Service Centre (CSC) at this address: Concessionary Fares, Orchard House,Farrier Street, Worcester WR1 3BB, or by visiting the CSC, where a photograph can be taken for a charge of £2.00. If no photograph is supplied, you will not receive a card under the new scheme.
Cllr David Clark, cabinet member responsible for Customer Care and Citizen Engagement, who is himself eligible for the new bus pass, said: “The concessionary bus pass scheme is a real boon to city pensioners and people with disabilities, and this extension will make it even more helpful. I am delighted that Worcester City Council is joining with the County and other Worcestershire councils to facilitate the implementation of the new smartcard system – it’s an excellent example of joined-up working which will benefit all our residents.”
To help the system run even more smoothly, as well as helping the Council to claim a discount on production costs, Worcester City Council residents who will turn 60 by 1 April 2008 are encouraged to apply for a pass by the end of November this year.
New applicants should bring a passport-style photograph and proof of residence and eligibility. If they prefer, the council will take the photograph on payment of a £2.00 fee as described above.
The introduction of smartcards will further enhance the reliability of the scheme, combat fraud and will also help to make the process easier for bus users, even in areas such as our own county of Worcestershire , where buses do not as yet have smart card readers installed. It should also result in administrative savings over the coming years.
More information on the concessionary fare scheme is available by visiting the Customer Service Centre, calling 01905 722 233 or visiting the council website at www.cityofworcester.gov.uk.