Travel costs for disabled bus users in Lancaster district could increase

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Lancashire County Council is consulting on proposals to increase the charge for Lancashire residents who hold a disabled NoWcard to travel before 9.30am on weekdays from 50p to £1.

The mandatory national concessionary travel scheme allows holders of a disabled persons pass to travel for free between 9.30am and 11m Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends and bank holidays.

Councils which operate the scheme locally have discretion to offer further concessions outside these times.

Lancashire County Council’s NoWcard scheme allows holders of a disabled person’s pass to travel at a 50p flat fare on journeys on local buses, which begin before 9.30am on Mondays to Fridays. The NoWcard scheme also covers travel on the Blackpool Tramway for Wyre residents. The NoWcard scheme is operated in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool councils but the proposal only affects holders of the disabled NoWcard who live within the Lancashire County Council boundary.

People are being asked to let the county council know how they would be affected if proposals are agreed to increase the charge to £1.

A consultation on the proposal is taking place until May 21.

County Coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Like many councils, we are facing an extremely challenging financial position, with a forecasted funding gap of £144m in 2021/22.

“We’re committed to providing the best services we can, particularly to the most vulnerable in our communities, which is why we offer a concession to disabled NoWcard holders to travel outside the times mandated by the national scheme.

“To help us reduce the pressure on the budget, we’re proposing to increase the charge to travel before 9.30am on weekdays from 50p to £1.

“However we don’t want to make a decision before considering how it will affect people, and I’m grateful for people taking the time to respond to the consultation over the coming weeks.”

You can respond to this consultation online at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.

If you need a questionnaire in a different format please telephone 0300 123 6734 or follow links on other ways to contact the council at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.