Proposed €50 annual charge on “Free” Travel Pass is unacceptable –Imelda Munster TD
Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has urged the Government not to introduce a €50 annual charge for the Free Travel Pass, as proposed in an internal government report which was recently released to the media.
Other proposals in the report include a move towards reduced fares rather than free fares, and a review of the medical requirements for companion passes for people who cannot travel alone.
“Over 1.2 million people are entitled to the Free Travel Pass and it is estimated that under half of those are in receipt of a state pension, over 20% qualify for disability payment, and 7% are carers”.
“The Free Travel Pass provides free travel for pensioners, people with disabilities and carers. It provides a vital service for people who have already contributed to society who need this pass to attend hospital appointments and for people with disabilities. This pass ensures against isolation for people in rural areas and also social inclusion for those who qualify”.
“The vast majority of people in receipt of the Travel Pass rely on it for the majority of their travel needs, and it is vital that it is protected and that it remains a free travel pass”.
“We have seen too often where a charge is brought in such as the prescription charge it can increase five fold within a matter of a few years. I have written to the Minister urging him to give an absolute commitment to retaining the free travel pass and have questioned the reasons or motives behind the leaking of the report to the media."