Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

New Free Travel Scheme For Darlington Pensioners

Plans for a scheme to bring free travel to pensioners and disabled people throughout the Darlington area have been unveiled.

The scheme ties in with the Government’s aims to provide free bus travel for pensioners between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays, as well as all day at weekends. Darlington Borough Council is investing £1.7m over the coming year in the scheme which will see pensioners and disabled people benefit from free travel all day every day (including morning peak hours), as well as links to a County Durham hospital.

At present, pensioners either have to pay up to £90 for an annual bus pass, or pay half-fare for their individual bus journeys. There will also be free travel every day on the Arriva services 1 and 1B to Bishop Auckland General Hospital. Alternatively, eligible disabled residents or people over 75 can apply for a £50 book of vouchers, which can be used in Darlington’s licensed taxis and private hire vehicles, on the Ring-a-Ride service, or converted into cash for use on local buses.

Nick Wallis, Darlington Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m delighted that Darlington can offer a substantial improvement to the Government’s scheme. “Older people have told us that they need all-day travel, to get to hospital appointments for example, and not simply after 9.30am. “There is a cost to the Council, but our prudent approach to spending means that it is affordable.” The scheme will come into effect on 1 April 2006.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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