Good news for over 60s bus pass holders

PEOPLE using their concessionary bus passes were given some good news this week - the 9am start will continue when East Sussex County Council takes over the scheme in April.

The concessionary bus fares scheme, which entitles people over 60 and registered disabled to free off-peak bus travel throughout England, is currently run by district and borough councils.

The grant funding from Government pays only for travel between 9.30am to 11pm and at the moment districts and boroughs allow people who have a pass to travel from 9am, with this extra half an hour funded locally.

East Sussex County Council takes over responsibility from district and borough councils for this scheme on April 1.

Originally the council wanted to withdraw the discretionary 9am start but did a u-turn.

Matthew Lock at County Hall said, “We know this is something people feel really passionate about - that’s why we have made the decision today to keep the 9am start.

“Retaining the 9am start will encourage people to use the bus and leave their car at home.

“While retaining the 9am start will cost more, I believe it is money well spent for the people of East Sussex.”

Eastbourne Seniors Forum said it was delighted with the news.

Chairman Steve Thornett added, “This is great news and will be appreciated especially by seniors wanting to attend the DGH for early appointments.”

Eastbourne Liberal Democrats said they were also celebrating the news after a campaign.

County councillor Carolyn Heaps led a delegation to County Hall in Lewes, prior to the cabinet meeting.

She said afterwards, “This victory will enable our elderly residents to maintain their independence.”