Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 12:21 UK

Council axes pensioners' railcard

A train (library picture)
The decision is expected to save Powys council about 50,000 a year

Concessionary railcards for senior citizens and people with disabilities have been scrapped by a council as part of a controversial cost-cutting move.

The decision to stop supporting the scheme is expected to save Powys Council about 50,000 a year.

The council said it knew the news would prove unpopular, but pensioners could still apply for free bus passes.

Help the Aged said the decision demonstrated the need for concessionary transport schemes to be widened.

A council spokesman said: "Although this decision will prove to be unpopular with some of our residents, they can still apply for a free bus pass if they qualify for one.

"You can use the free bus pass to travel on the Heart of Wales railway line free of charge."

'Isolation'

The council's governing board approved the withdrawal of the railcard, and the decision comes into effect immediately.

Before the decision was taken, the council offered two different schemes - a free bus pass or the senior railcard to those aged over 60 and to those who qualified as having a disability.

Both were free, but the railcard was funded by the council while the bus pass is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Victoria Lloyd of Help the Aged in Wales said: "Isolation among older people is a very real problem, but it is one which can be helped by having good access to public and community transport, especially in rural areas."

She added: "It demonstrates the need for national concessionary transport schemes for older people to be widened so that alternatives can be offered in terms of public and community transport concessions where bus services are not available."




SEE ALSO
Rail card changes 'hit commuters'
08 Sep 06 |  Cornwall

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific