Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 17:40 UK

Pensioners protest over bus costs

Bus stop
A petition of 500 signatures was handed in at Burnley Town Hall

Pensioners in Lancashire are campaigning to reinstate half-fare tickets on local buses at peak times.

Free off-peak bus travel for the over-60s and disabled travellers was introduced nationally in April.

Before then, those eligible for a pass could travel at peak times for a half-fare of no more than 50p, but now they have to pay the full amount.

A petition of 500 signatures was handed in at Burnley Town Hall on Wednesday, in protest at the fares.

Labour MP for for Burnley and Padiham Kitty Ussher is supporting the pensioners and thinks the council should change the rules.

'Completely outrageous'

"I think what the council has done is completely outrageous," she said.

"The national government has made it free for pensioners to travel off-peak, and at the same time the council has taken away their concessionary peak-time travel.

"It's a completely churlish move and I think it's astonishing," she added.

Burnley Council Leader Gordon Birtwistle said they did not have the money to cut pensioners' fares, but that there was some consolation for disabled travellers.

"We managed to persuade the county council to provide concessionary fares outside the peak period for disabled people and their carers," he said.

"For the pensioners, we do not have - or we do not think we have - the funding to provide anything outside the national scheme."

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