Bates Condemns Tory Threat to Free OAP Bus Passes

2009 Awst 11 12:12 PM

Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates has criticised Conservative plans to end free bus travel for all pensioners in Wales, which was introduced when the Welsh Liberal Democrats were in power in the Assembly.

In a move which has left many elderly people upset and angry, Conservative plans have been uncovered to end the free service during peak times and review the future of free travel all together.

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Mick Bates stated: "I cannot believe that the Conservatives want to cut this key service, which plays such an important role particularly in rural areas where shops and services are more dispersed and harder to access.

"Public transport is vital for the elderly and disabled to access leisure facilities, medical services and shops as well as visit friends and relatives, so that they do not feel isolated and have the freedom to travel and live their lives."

The service has been beneficial for younger residents too by stimulating demand for bus services which might otherwise have been dropped through lack of use. Officials of the Labour-Plaid Cymru Government in the Assembly have now called for the service to be reviewed to save money, while the Welsh Lib Dems have promised to prioritise the future of the service.

Mick added: "The Welsh Lib Dems want to maintain this service as a key priority. With Labour-Plaid Government officials also calling for it to be reviewed, we will keep up the pressure against the Tory plans to scrap this key scheme."

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