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Disabled bus fares in Lancashire set to double

bus stop

9:02am 10th August 2018

Disabled bus passengers in Lancashire who travel during the morning rush hour are set to see their fares doubled.

By Local Democracy Reporter Paul Faulkner

The current flat rate of 50p for NoWCard holders travelling before 9.30am will go up to £1.

It is the first time there has been an increase in the charge for a decade.

The free travel offered after 9.30am on weekdays and any time at weekends will continue as normal.

A public consultation on the proposal showed just under half of respondents were opposed to the change, with 42% in favour.

The survey also revealed that 45% of NoWCard holders who responded to the survey had regularly travelled before 9.30am in the last twelve months.

Lancashire County Council’s member for transport, Keith Iddon, told the cabinet meeting where the increase was approved that the flat rate was under threat if it was not made more financially sustainable.

He added that travelling at that time of the day suggested that the people affected would be working.

bus stop
Lancashire disabled bus users facing a hike in fares

But deputy leader of the Labour opposition, John Fillis, drew a contrast with a decision about mobile phone provision for councillors which was taken at the same meeting;

“This is a 100% increase [in fares] – and we’ve just voted through some iPhones for councillors.

“If you actually look at the saving [from the NoWcard changes] of £43,000 compared to the £38,000 [potential cost of councillors’ new phones], it’s not much difference.”

But leader of the Conservative-run authority, Geoff Driver responded:

“You clearly don’t understand the difference between one-off costs [like phones], for which there is provision in the budget, and on-going costs [like NoWCards] for which there isn’t.

“If we don’t make savings in areas like this, we will inevitably end up not being to provide services for the most vulnerable people”.

The flat rate during rush hour is also offered by the standalone councils in Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.

That means journeys which begin in either of those areas will continue to be charged at the 50p rate.

More news from across Lancashire

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