1,000 signatures reached
To: All parties contesting the 8th June General Election
Keep the free bus pass
Before polling day, to publicly pledge that, if elected to power, they will retain unchanged the England free bus pass for older and disabled citizens, namely as a universal entitlement free at the point of use, for the lifetime of the new Parliament
Why is this important?
The bus pass, entitling older and disabled people to free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England, was introduced in April 2008. Now in its tenth year, the concessionary pass - official title 'The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme' (ENCTS) has had huge quality-of-life benefits, not only for millions of older and disabled citizens, but also for their families and the communities they live in or travel to.
The benefits of the scheme to society, e.g., in savings to the NHS, have been calculated as three times greater than the cost.
In 2014, we at Walsall Pensioners' Convention, with the support of the National Pensioners' Convention, launched the non-partisan 'Love the Bus Pass' petition requesting exactly the same pledges as now: it attracted huge interest and over 200,000 pen-on-paper signatures from every corner of England. These were delivered to 10 Downing Street in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, and the political parties did indeed pledge to retain the scheme fully intact. Hundreds of correspondents at that time described the scheme to us as an 'absolute lifeline'. We say 'Amen to That'!
We now urgently need to achieve the same result in the sort time available to us: without categorical pledges and with no clearly stated policy position, the pass will be at serious risk, and incoming Government especially if bolstered by a safe majority, could well feel entitled to fragment, dilute or destroy the bus pass.
No pledges - no safety!
This is SO important not just for pass-holders, but for all of us - don't forget that younger people are tomorrow's pensioners and communities and the nation generally all benefit in many different ways from the existing scheme.
Please sign up and encourage friends, families and your community generally to sign up NOW - 9th June will be too late!
2017 England Bus Pass Petition Organisers