Free Travel here for the over 60s
Sinn Féin Transport Minister Conor Murphy today officially launched free travel on public transport in the north for people aged 60 to 64.
To date, over 45,000 people have already applied for a 60+ SmartPass which means that from tomorrow, October 1 2008, they can travel free of charge, without any time restrictions, on nearly all scheduled bus and rail services here.
Speaking at the Europa Bus Centre in Belfast, the minister said:
"Tomorrow is the International Day of Older People, and so it is particularly appropriate that from then free travel in the north of Ireland is extended for the first time to people aged 60 to 64. I sincerely hope that this will prove to be a significant benefit to people - saving them money, encouraging more people on to public transport and increasing their opportunities in a variety of ways.
"I would wholeheartedly encourage all eligible passengers to take advantage of this opportunity and to apply for their SmartPass if they have not already done so."
To obtain free travel, passengers must obtain a 60+ SmartPass. An application form is available for a SmartPass by telephoning 0845 600 0049 or visiting www.sixtysmartpass.info
Mr Murphy said:
"The extension of free travel to people in the north aged 60 and over is welcome and long overdue. It demonstrates once again how a locally-elected and locally-accountable assembly can improve the lives of local people." ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. It is estimated that extending free travel to people aged 60 to 64 will cost £4 million per annum.
2. The new scheme will only be available for journeys taken within the north. The All-Ireland Free Travel Scheme is available to residents of the north aged 65 and residents of the South aged 66. The government in the south has no plans to reduce the eligible age for free travel.
3. Other bus operators in the north offer concessionary travel to their passengers. These include Airporter, B&C Coaches, Cavehill Coaches, Logan's Executive Travel, McAnulty's Coach Hire and Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company