Residents of Devon who are over 60 or disabled qualify for a Devonwide bus pass allowing travel at half fare on most public bus routes throughout the county of Devon.
Now this information became out of date on the 1st April 2006 when a Government scheme started that allowed all people over 60 and those who are disabled to travel free within their local area. Torbay along with most areas in Devon went for the idea of the local area to include the whole of Devon. Under this arrangement it is posible for a Devon Countywide Pass to travel from Torquay all the way to Ilfracombe on the north Devon coast and back in a day without it costing a penny. The problem with this scheme is the cost. The government is providing what they see as enough money to fund it but it turns out that for some reason the money provided isn't enough.
So from 1st April this year Torbay are opting out of Devon and running their own scheme. Problem is some sections of the media ran headlines along the lines of " free bus travel for pensioners to end." Torbay have come up with some publisity but it is taking it's time to get through. Daily, old dears are getting on the bus, showing their pass and asking what is going to happen when the free travel ends.
IT ISN'T GOING TO END.
It's just going to change slightly, free travel will still be available anywhere in Torquay, but if you want to go to Ilfracombe you will have to pay. This isn't a disaster as not many people in Torbay are likely to feel the need for a day out in Ilfracombe every other day of the week. The round trip would take 6 hours for one thing.
But a bit more effort is needed to get the message across to the poor old dears who think they are going to have to pay to travel on the buses from next month. I know not many of them are likely to look on the Web site but it would show a sign of willingness on the council's part if the did bring the above mentioned section up to date.
PS The whole thing will change again in April 2008 when HM Government provide an other £250 million so that the over sixties can travel on buses free anywhere in the country and not just in their own area.