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Concessionary Free Travel Scheme for Senior Citizens and Disabled People

The Government is raising the statutory minimum requirement for travel concessions for people who have attained the age of 65 years and certain categories of disabled, to take effect from 1st April 2006. This will improve from the current half-fare entitlement to guarantee free off-peak travel on local buses.

The statutory minimum requirement is for District Councils to provide free travel within their boundaries between 9.30am and 11pm Mondays to Fridays, and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays on all local buses. Ashford Borough Council however, participates in a countywide scheme supported by the Kent District Councils, Kent County Council and Medway Council to enable free travel from 9.00 am on weekdays, and anytime weekends and Bank Holidays.

A free pass will be available for all eligible persons from 1st April 2006, and will be able to be used on all local bus services anywhere within Kent and Medway. The pass can also be used to travel further afield, provided the journey starts or finishes in Kent or Medway and does not involve a change of service outside the area. The pass cannot be used on rail or long distance coach services.

Applicants for the free travel pass who do not hold an existing half - fare pass should apply at the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford from April 1st 2006 and will need to bring proof of age or disability.

Existing pass holders will have their pass renewed automatically through the post, but these will not be sent out until 1st April 2006. However, the current half-fare passes will be treated as free travel passes by bus operators until 30th June 2006, so people should not be concerned if they do not immediately receive their new pass. As the new passes will take some time to prepare, the council should be informed of address or any other relevant changes by 17th March 2006.

Anyone who requires further information or advice as to eligibility should telephone Ashford Borough Council on 01233 330350.

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