HC Deb 15 October 2002 vol 390 c703W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to introduce free off-peak travel for pensioners on public transport. [71424]

Mr. Jamieson

Under the Transport Act 2000, our standard minimum requirement for concessionary travel in England ensures half fares for pensioners and disabled people on local buses, with a free pass. Local authorities may make more generous provision, including free travel, at their discretion. From 1 April 2003 men aged 60 and over will benefit from existing schemes.

Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance the Government are giving to local authorities in respect of Freedom travel passes for blind people who are not of retirement age; and if he will make a statement. [74287]

Mr. Jamieson

The Transport Act 2000 (and the GLA Act 1999 as amended by the Transport Act) provides for the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance to local authorities, including the London Boroughs, which they must take into account when deciding whether someone is eligible for concessionary travel under the disability criteria. Blind or partially-sighted persons are listed in guidance issued last year as one of the seven eligible categories of disabled persons. The guidance can be viewed at www.dft.gov.uk/itwp/consult/cf/disabled/ index.htm.

The Transport Act 2000 provides for a statutory minimum 50 per cent. discount on local bus services for elderly and disabled people in England and Wales. Many local authorities, including those in London, choose to offer better schemes and under the Act are still free to do so.

In London, the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (GLA 1999) requires the 33 London local authorities to agree arrangements for concessionary travel for their elderly and disabled residents with Transport for London annually. This scheme is known as the Freedom Pass. It provides free travel on buses, tube and rail services for all blind people meeting the disability criteria in the statutory guidance.

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