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Free Bus Travel for Pensioners in West Dorset Up for Discussion

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7:39am 15th January 2013

Changes to concessionary bus travel for elderly people in West Dorset will be discussed today.  (Tuesday 15th January).

Currently pensioners in Dorchester, Beaminster and Bridport can catch a bus at any time of day free of charge.

Elsewhere the National Scheme only entitles pass holders to free travel after 9:30am.

It's different here because West Dorset District Council subsidises that scheme. But with less funding from central government Leaders are concerned they don't have the money to keep it going and may have to bring the rules in line with national ones next year.

It's estimated supporting the scheme through 2014 will cost the local authority £46,000.

But there's concern some residents who rely on free bus travel early in the morning for doctors and hospital appointments , will be forced to settle for later appointments instead.

An alternative up for discussion is investing £10,000 into community transport schemes that help the elderly in hard to reach areas get to medical appointments in town.

Members will consult with Town and Parish Councils plus local groups before making a decision.

A special report will be presented to West Dorset District Council's Executive Committee today.

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