Consultation launched on concessionary travel scheme changes

The Isle of Wight Council has today (16 July) launched a consultation on potential changes to its current concessionary travel scheme.

The proposed changes do not affect free travel arrangements for older and disabled residents who wish to travel on Island buses between 9.30am and 11pm, but do affect other travel times.

Under the changes proposed free travel for a travelling companion of a disabled person would also be retained for bus journeys between 9.30am and 11pm.

If agreed through the consultation process the council could also include free travel for care leavers.

The Island’s concessionary travel scheme cost the council £4.72 million in 2017/18, for both mandatory and additional discretionary elements.

The new proposals amend the current scheme which was introduced in 2008, and would align the Island to many other parts of the country and enable the council to make savings in the process.

Cabinet member for public transport, Councillor Ian Ward, said: “For some time we have been looking carefully at the extra discretionary elements we provide for Islanders, above and beyond what is available in many other parts of England.

“This consultation will seek people’s views on how we can fairly and acceptably amend the scheme to bring us in line with a lot of other parts of the country, and generate savings to benefit Islanders in other service areas.

“We are also looking at the issue of medical appointments and whether the removal of the pre-9.30am free travel element would disadvantage some people, and through discussions with the clinical commissioning group whether this could be overcome in terms of appointment times to ensure those affected can still enjoy free bus travel.”