Latest bid to improve public transport for elderly and vulnerable on Welsh border

A councillor has stepped up efforts to improve the lot of elderly and disabled travellers using public transport along the England/Wales border.

The issue is a hot topic for concessionary bus pass holders in Shropshire who can travel into Wales for free but who are not able to use their passes free across the border.

Councillor Heather Kidd, who represents Chirbury and Worthen in Shropshire, raised the issue at a recent county meeting. The cabinet member agreed to pick the issue up.

Councillor Kidd said: "Concessionary bus pass holders have had a real issue along the border with Wales since the pass introduction around 15 years ago.

"People can travel into Wales to use vital services and return for free.

"They cannot change buses.

"If they need to walk or drive to Churchstoke in Wales - for some that's a matter of less than a mile - to catch a bus to Newtown to visit a dentist or for an appointment at Newtown or Welshpool hospital then their pass is not valid.

"This is also true in the Oswestry area where people need to access services in Chester and have to change buses in Wrexham. The pensioner or vulnerable then have to pay the full price both ways.”

Heather asked a question at Thursday’s meeting of Shropshire Council to ask the council to work urgently to put in place a local agreement with Powys where local travel in each direction may well end up being cost neutral for both authorities. The portfolio-holder is asking officers to progress this now.

“I will also be asking the Churchstoke Lib Dem Councillor, Danny Bebb, to get this moving on his side of the border. There’s never been a better time for cross-border working." added Heather.

She added that it was time to end "petty restrictions".

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