Have your say on free bus passes, Borderers urged

A bus picking up passengers in Hawick's Mart Street.
A bus picking up passengers in Hawick's Mart Street.

Borderers are being urged to have their say on the future of Scottish Government-funded free transport.

Age Scotland is calling on people of all ages to take part in the consultation before it ends on Friday, November 17.

The charity will be hosting a presentation about the concessionary transport scheme at a meeting at Melrose Corn Exchange next Thursday, November 9.

The Scottish Government is holding a nationwide consultation about the future of the scheme, including seeking views on a proposal to raise the eligibility age to 65, in line with the women’s state pension age, to save money.

Currently, everyone is entitled to a free bus pass when they reach 60, and 1.3 million holders of such passes make 145 million journeys a year.

Those aged 60 to 65 would not lose any passes they hold at the moment if the age of eligibility is raised, however.

Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s charity director, said: “We know how much older people value and use the concessionary scheme, and it can be a real lifeline for many of them.

“We’d encourage everyone to make sure their voices are heard.”

Advice on financial matters such as pensions and budgeting, as well as updates from Peebles and District Old Folks’ Welfare and Hawick Men’s Shed, will also be on offer.

Selkirkshire councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol, Scottish Borders Council’s older people’s champion, will give a closing address.

For details of the meeting, starting at 10am, with the transport presentation at 1.30pm, email members@agescotland.org.uk or call 0333 323 2400.

To take part in the consultation, go to consult.scotland.gov.uk or call 0131 244 0781.