Some pensioners still waiting for new national bus passes

NEARLY 20,000 pensioners and people with disabilities in the Huntingdonshire area can now travel free anywhere in England on local buses. New nationally-available passes for off-peak travel came into force on Tuesday. But several thousand are believed to

NEARLY 20,000 pensioners and people with disabilities in the Huntingdonshire area can now travel free anywhere in England on local buses.

New nationally-available passes for off-peak travel came into force on Tuesday.

But several thousand are believed to have applied too late for their new tickets to have been delivered in time. While they are waiting, they can still use their Cambridgeshire-wide passes until the summer.

And many in South Cambridgeshire missed out because their tickets were not delivered in time by the district council's supplier.


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Lee Phanco, head of revenues at SCDC, said: "We can only apologise to those of the 14,000 residents who applied who have not yet received their bus passes. We handed over the applications to the government-recommended supplier in good faith believing the passes would arrive on time and are disappointed this has not been the case for some residents.

"We are not the only authority in the UK to experience problems with delivery and understand the supplier is dealing with some 100 local authorities."

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The council believes they will arrive shortly.

Paul Cann, Help the Aged's director of policy and external relations, said: "We're delighted that so many older people will be able to benefit from the bus pass being introduced.

"Public transport plays a crucial role in ensuring older people aren't left isolated and cut off from society.

"But we mustn't forget that mobility problems or poor local services can make it difficult for some older people to use buses. We're hoping the bus pass will be the first in a string of concessionary travel options being opened up for older people and that local authorities will provide alternatives such as free dial-a-ride schemes or travel tokens for taxis, trains and community transport. That way all older people will be able to get around."

Although the new passes are not valid on coach services, the X5 Bedford-Cambridge service through St Neots and Cambourne qualifies as a bus.

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