02 February 2006

Free Bus travel for over 60's in the UK

Over-60s look set to get free travel throughout the county in a deal being negotiated between councils and bus companies.

A new Government scheme due to come into operation in April will ensure that all over 60s will have free bus passes to travel within their own district.

But councils across Herts are now hoping to introduce a county-wide scheme.

Cllr Chris Oxley, St Albans District Council's resources portfolio holder, said: "Bus companies and councils are all agreed that a single county-wide scheme would be the most efficient than individual district-wide schemes."

The county-wide scheme would cost significantly less than individual district ones because it would be more efficient to administer.

St Albans spends £690,000 on its present bus-passes which provide half-price travel for over 60s in the district as well as free travel for over 70s, the blind and some disabled people who pay an annual fee. The pass also covers journeys to local hospitals.

The Government has added a further £490,000 for the district to introduce the new free travel scheme, but Cllr Oxley said the bus companies were asking for large increases.

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