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Free bus pass pair's epic voyage

31 March 08 14:01 GMT

Two women in their 60s are to embark on a 700-mile journey across England using free bus passes to get them around.

Manju Ghosh, 60, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, and her friend, 66-year-old Christine Jackson, from Sheffield, will begin their trip on Tuesday.

The pair will use their new National Travel Passes which give over 60s and eligible disabled people free travel on local buses throughout England.

The trip from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Land's End is expected to take 12 days.

'Great adventure'

The women are planning to stay at a variety of friends' houses along the way and will pass through Newcastle, Darlington, Selby and York before travelling on to Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Towards the end of their trip the pair will visit Oxford, Bath, Dorchester and Penzance on their way to Land's End.

Mrs Ghosh is one of 320,000 older and disabled people in Greater Manchester who have taken up the offer of a national travel pass.

She said: "I heard about the scheme a while ago and I do use public transport a lot and thought it would be a great adventure.

"I also wanted to see if it was possible to travel the country just using local bus services - and it's a good opportunity to see friends and have fun.

"I think that public transport is very important and that people rely too much on their cars.

Tuesday launch

"Not only is it better for the environment but it means that you can relax and do a crossword or read a book while someone else does the driving!"

The National Travel Pass entitles people aged 60 and over and eligible disabled people to free travel on local bus services anywhere in England from 0930 BST to 2300 BST on weekdays.

They can also travel all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays. Greater Manchester residents can use their pass for free travel on local bus services in the county through to midnight.

They can additionally travel for free on Greater Manchester's local trains and tram services from 0930 BST, with concessions before then.

The passes can be used from Tuesday.

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