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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 09:55 GMT
'Strings attached' to free travel
There is concern in County Durham that free bus travel for pensioners, which comes into effect on 1 April, has strings attached.

While it will be free within the seven district councils, anyone travelling elsewhere in the county council will still have to pay half price.

Some local residents fear this could cause confusion in areas close to boundaries.

District councils are promising to review the system after six months.

Alex Watson, leader of Derwentside District Council, said that the general belief was the scheme would apply nationally, but this was not the case.

"The statutory requirement for local authorities is to provide free travel within their district boundaries, no more and no less.

"Currently there's a half fare scheme across County Durham, and that will be enhanced."

Dave Woods, chairman of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority, said: "When the chancellor announced the scheme it was mentioned as for local bus travel, not country-wide travel, so in effect an elderly person who pays council tax will receive free travel in their area.

"It is an excellent scheme."

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