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Minister announces free travel for over 60-64s

23 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Transport Minister Conor Murphy announced today that people aged 60-64 will be able to travel on public transport for free for the first time in the North.

It is hoped the plans to extend free travel on public transport will take place on 1 October this year.

The minister said:

"This extension to the Concessionary Fares Scheme is long overdue and will give older people here the same access to free travel as their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales. It clearly demonstrates the advantages of local politicians taking local decisions to improve the lives of local people.

"I would wholeheartedly encourage all eligible passengers to take advantage of this opportunity and to apply for their SmartPass as soon as possible."

This extension was included in the recent budget statement and Programme for Government but until the recent successful completion of policy consultation and Equality Impact Assessment processes, official approval to proceed could not be given.

Free travel is only available to those eligible passengers in receipt of a 60+ SmartPass which they will need to apply for. From today eligible persons will be able to obtain an application form for a SmartPass by telephoning 0845 600 0049 or visiting the Department for Regional Development website.

The Department for Regional Development has launched a campaign to ensure that as much of the eligible population as possible are made aware of the extension. Posters and television advertising will start in the summer.

The Department for Regional Development and Translink have made special arrangements for applicants to take their application forms in person to one of 27 application centres, mainly bus and train stations, throughout the north during July and August.

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