Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is calling for the national concessionary travel scheme to be extended to include community transport schemes such as Forth Valley’s Dial-a-Journey.
“Scheduled bus services don’t always meet the needs of older and disabled people, and so they can find it difficult to take advantage of the current scheme,” said Cathy.
“More accessible and flexible services such as Dial-a-Journey address that need, but are not covered by the scheme. I think we should use the travel scheme to support voluntary organisations who are meeting the need for transport in areas without bus services and services for people who are unable to use public transport – collectively known as demand responsive transport.
“Over two million journeys are made each year in Scotland using demand responsive community transport schemes. Many of the people making those journeys have or are eligible for a free bus card but are unable to make use of it. Is it fair that although eligible for free travel, they are effectively excluded from the free bus scheme?
“They would not have to pay if they could use regular buses, but as it is, travel costs for accessible transport mean that they are unlikely to travel unless absolutely necessary.”
The scheme is currently under review by the Scottish Government, and a group of organisations are campaigning for the extension of the scheme – Capability Scotland; Community Transport Association Scotland; Help the Aged in Scotland; Age Concern Scotland; WRVS; RNID Scotland; RNIB Scotland; Inclusion Scotland; Glasgow Disability Alliance; Guide Dogs for the Blind Association; Leonard Cheshire Disability; and the Scottish Disability Equality Forum.
Cathy has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament in support of the campaign:
S3M-02653# Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Fare Deal – That the Parliament congratulates the 12 charities which, on UK Older People’s Day, 1 October 2008, launched a Fare Deal campaign for the concessionary travel scheme to be extended to cover special transport schemes used by elderly and disabled people, such as Dial-a-Journey in Forth Valley; considers that thousands of people who have or are entitled to a free bus pass are missing out because they cannot use regular scheduled services, and believes that an extension to the national concessionary travel scheme to include demand-responsive community transport should be considered.
Supported by: Kenneth Gibson, Bill Butler, Patrick Harvie, Marlyn Glen, Paul Martin, Mary Mulligan, Robin Harper, John Park, Dr Elaine Murray, Charlie Gordon, Hugh O’Donnell, Sandra White, Jackie Baillie, Des McNulty, Dr Richard Simpson, Alex Neil, Karen Whitefield, Trish Godman, Ken Macintosh, Cathy Jamieson, Helen Eadie, Mr Frank McAveety, Rt Hon Jack McConnell, Marilyn Livingstone, Hugh Henry, Rt Hon George Foulkes