The Welsh Government is holding a public consultation to seek views on free bus travel for older people, disabled people and injured service veterans within the country.
The consultation, which began on Monday, October 10 and runs until January 12, 2018, will see the Welsh Government consider a series of questions:
- Should the Welsh Government become the Travel Concession Authority for the administration of the All Wales Mandatory Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme in Wales, or should the functions remain with the local authorities?
- Should the eligibility age for older people who are new applicants to receive free bus travel be increased to match the UK state retirement age in Wales, or be maintained at age 60 for men and for women?
- Should the Welsh Government maintain the entitlement for disabled people meeting the criteria to be issued with a free travel pass?
- Should the Welsh Government allow more than one companion to travel with a disabled concessionary pass holder where more than one companion is needed to make travel by bus possible?
- Should veterans meeting certain requirements continue to receive a mandatory concessionary free bus travel pass at no cost?
- Should free bus travel be extended to volunteers that volunteer for at least 30 hours a week?
- Should bus travel using a concessionary bus pass allow free travel only during off-peak times, or should the ability to travel at any time be maintained?
- Should the Welsh Government introduce an application fee to be paid by some applicants if the fee is limited to the cost recovery for receiving, processing, issuing and auditing passes?
- If an application fee is introduced for a free bus travel pass, should it be paid by older people, disabled people, injured service veterans or none?
- Should the Welsh Government explore the extension of free concessionary bus travel scheme to other modes of local transport services?
In a statement, Ken Skates AM/AC, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “As the scheme has been in existence for more than a decade, we need to consider very carefully how the scheme is operating and how we can make improvements to ensure that it continues to deliver sustainable benefits to the people of Wales well into the future. These considerations must be taken against the backdrop of an ageing population, increasing pressures on reducing public sector budgets and an uncertain economic future for our country once the UK leaves the EU.”
The consultation document, with response form, can be found at https://bit.ly/walesfares