The Isle of Wight council have launched a consultation on making major changes to the concessionary travel scheme.
The proposed changes do not affect free travel arrangements for older and disabled residents who wish to travel on Island buses between 9.30am and 11pm, but do affect other travel times.
Recommended for removal
In 2010, the council removed the additional discretionary element for older people – but not for those with a disability.
The additional discretionary elements recommended for removal from the concessionary travel scheme include:
- the New Islander Card which provides additional free travel on Island buses and Islandline for those with a “severe and enduring mental health problem”;
- the New Islander Card element which gives free travel on Island buses and Islandline to a travelling companion of a person with a “severe and enduring mental health problem” and of those who meet the national disability criteria (the intention is to retain free travel for appropriate accompanying travel companions, between 9.30am and 11pm, and at any time on Saturdays, Sundays or bank holidays (for 24 hours));
- free travel on Island buses from 11 at night to 9.30 in the morning for all qualifying disabled people (except on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays when free 24 hour travel will remain);
- free travel on Islandline for all qualifying disabled people – as free travel is available on bus services operating in parallel.
The Island’s concessionary travel scheme cost the council £4.72 million in 2017/18, for both mandatory and additional discretionary elements.
The new proposals amend the current scheme which was introduced in 2008, and would align the Island to many other parts of the country and enable the council to make savings in the process.
Ward: In line other parts of the country
Cabinet member for public transport, Cllr Ian Ward, said
“For some time we have been looking carefully at the extra discretionary elements we provide for Islanders, above and beyond what is available in many other parts of England.
“This consultation will seek people’s views on how we can fairly and acceptably amend the scheme to bring us in line with a lot of other parts of the country, and generate savings to benefit Islanders in other service areas.
“We are also looking at the issue of medical appointments and whether the removal of the pre-9.30am free travel element would disadvantage some people, and through discussions with the clinical commissioning group whether this could be overcome in terms of appointment times to ensure those affected can still enjoy free bus travel.”
The consultation starts Tuesday 16 July and ends at midday on Tuesday 8 October 2019. It can be accessed via the council’s Website.