Half-fares back for pensioners

PUBLISHED: 13:58 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

PENSIONERS in Royston have been given a FARE deal. Half-price bus travel between Royston and Cambridge is to be resumed in about two weeks time. The move comes after members of North Herts District Council s Royston area committee decided to spend £3,000

PENSIONERS in Royston have been given a FARE deal.

Half-price bus travel between Royston and Cambridge is to be resumed in about two weeks' time.

The move comes after members of North Herts District Council's Royston area committee decided to spend £3,000 on restoring the half-price travel for pensioners.

The scheme was dropped at the beginning of the month, when the Government's bus pass scheme was introduced - and pensioners discovered they would have to pay twice as much for the journey.

Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Cllr Bill Davidson said: "We've responded to the situation.

"There was a lot of protest from the elderly and we wanted to help.

"It was our reaction to what we believed was unfair to the over-60s and the disabled."

Cllr Davidson added the committee recognised that the No26 Stagecoach service between Royston and Cambridge was a "valuable service".

In a report to the committee, members were told that the introduction of the subsidy would be "good value for Royston residents".

The council had more than 100 calls protesting about the scrapping of the half-fare scheme when the new bus system was introduced.

But veteran pensioners' campaigner Terry Hutt, who attended the meeting with a group of supporters, said: "We went in the hope of free travel - not half-fare.

"Yet again, they have addressed the matter only slightly.

"The bottom line is that pensioners will still have to pay for travel. We want free travel."

Meanwhile, South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley has told Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman that the introduction of bus passes makes "no sense".

He said the elderly in south Cambridgeshire were unable to take advantage of the scheme because they would still have to pay full fare to visit Cambridge city centre and Addenbrooke's Hospital.

He pointed out that because South Cambridgeshire District Council had its Council Tax demand capped this year, there was no money available for the scheme.

Mr Lansley said the Government scheme did not encourage people to use public transport.

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