Welsh push to maintain free transport for disabled people

Welsh push to maintain free transport for disabled people

By staff writers
9 Apr 2011

Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales) has hit out at the Conservative Party's unwillingness to support free bus travel for disabled people.

Currently, Welsh residents over the age of 60 and disabled persons of any age, including their companions, can travel for free on registered local bus services. Those who qualify to travel for free can also travel any time of the day.

While the Conservatives have said that they would maintain free bus passes for older people, they have refused to make that commitment for others who benefit from the present scheme - notably those living with disabilities and their carers.

The Plaid Cymru candidate in Islwyn, Steffan Lewis, has called on the Conservatives to join them in a commitment to safeguarding the free bus pass in its entirety.

Lewis commented: "Free transport makes a huge difference to the lives of elderly and disabled people who rely on it. Often for these groups of people it is the only access they have to transport.

“I am very concerned that the Conservatives have decided to omit disabled people and their companions from having a bus pass in future. This would lead to a large proportion of people in Wales unable to get out of the house, do their shopping or visit friends and family."

Disability and transport groups are also strongly in favour of the continuation and development of the scheme.

Despite savage cuts imposed on Wales by the Tory-Lib Dem Westminster government, Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones says his party has moved swiftly to secure the future of the free bus pass, and to extend it to include seriously injured veterans and service people from 1 April 2011.

He added: “The Welsh Assembly Government’s free bus travel scheme is both successful and popular. The scheme continues to go from strength to strength. I have seen the difference this service makes to the lives of people in Wales and want to see that benefit continue for years to come.”

[Ekk/3]

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