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Councillors in u-turn on plan to restrict concessionary bus pass use for disabled people in Lichfield and Burntwood

Plans to axe free peak-time bus travel for disabled people in Lichfield and Burntwood have been parked up after a u-turn by councillors.

Bus stop markings
Bus stop markings

Staffordshire County Council had planned to end the concessionary arrangements as part of widespread budget cuts.

But it has now reversed the proposal after criticism from residents.

It follows a decision not to push ahead with plans to axe council-funded school crossing patrols.

Cllr Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The vast majority of bus pass holders are older people who travel during the day, so they won’t be affected by the planned changes and will continue to make their free trips as per usual.

“However, during the review, it became clear that a smaller percentage of disabled passengers were using their passes to get to college, training or work on weekdays and would be disproportionately affected by not being able to travel before 9.30am.

“We have listened to what people have said and as a consequence plan to continue to offer pre-9.30am free travel to disabled people who haven’t yet reached retirement age.

“We are also planning to offer some flexibility in exceptional circumstances, to allow all card holders free travel before 9.30am if, for example, there isn’t an alternative bus for several hours. This would be particularly beneficial in more rural areas and would be decided on a case by case basis.

“Although most journeys by card holders will not be affected, we are continuing to work with bus operators to encourage favourable fares for older people who choose to travel by bus before 9.30am on a regular basis.”

A final decision on the county council’s budget will be made at a meeting on 14th February.

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