Welsh Assembly Members will today discuss concerns that some of the most vulnerable people in Wales could become more cut off from society because of the end of a community transport scheme in March.
Community Transport Wales manages the Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative.
Since 2005, the programme - which involves 15 pilot projects, has provided 1.3 million concessionary passenger fares for older people.
Despite a Government consultant recommending that the programme should continue and be rolled out across Wales, its funding ends in March this year.
Graeme Francis, Head of Public Affairs and Policy at the older people’s charity Age Cymru says:
“Transport can play a vital role in helping older people to maintain their independence and wellbeing as well as access services, facilities and amenities in their communities.
“Community transport is particularly effective at doing this on a door-to-door basis for people with specific mobility needs, who cannot use mainstream public transport.
“Funding for the Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative programme ends in March - despite the recommendations made by Government consultants Capita Symonds, that it should be extended.
“Age Cymru is very concerned that the end of this project will mean the end of many essential transport services which will have a disproportionate effect on older people, leaving them isolated and cut-off from society.
“We also feel that it is unfair that older people who rely on community transport schemes have to pay for their travel, while those who can use public transport are able to travel for free.”
Age Cymru is calling for:
• The Welsh Government to develop a fully integrated public transport to address the needs of people who don’t have a car;
• The Welsh Government to prioritise transport services for older people who cannot access bus services due to geography or disability;
• The Welsh Government to clarify its long-term plans for concessionary fares on community transport;
The Cross-Party Group on Older People and Ageing is meeting at the Senedd at lunchtime on 9 February.