With an ever-growing ageing population, many of whom enjoy good health, surely it’s time the age limit for a bus pass was raised. The sheer number of bus passes that are provided must be huge, putting a great strain on funding, which could be diverted to more pressing issues, such as healthcare.
Free bus passes are funded by the Government (Department of Transport), who pass the funds on to local councils, who in turn pay the relevant bus companies. But in some cases funding falls short of what is required, and council taxes may be raised.
Age on its own should possibly not be a qualifying factor, or at least not before the age of 70 or even 75. Individuals younger than this should still qualify if they are on a very low income (it could be related to those receiving pension credits for example) and those whose state of health limits their mobility. Bus passes are already issued to those who have been judged to have a ‘severe disability’ or particular medical condition.
Why should public funds be used to enable really quite wealthy individuals to travel for free? The amount of times recently I have heard well-heeled ‘celebs’ crowing about their free passes is quite sickening. I am certainly of the opinion that this is not right.
Some days I board a bus where I appear to be the only fare-paying passenger. Although many of my fellow travellers appear deserving of their passes, there are others for whom it seems totally inappropriate. Take the group of ladies I see in their designer sportswear heading to a local (expensive) gym on their free passes! Ok, maybe I shouldn’t judge, it just seems pretty inappropriate when so many deserving people are struggling for want of other things that could have received the finance instead.
I really do believe new criteria should be introduced when deciding who should qualify for a free bus pass. What do you think?
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