Free bus travel for carers

PUBLISHED: 11:48 31 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:30 17 June 2010

CARERS of disabled bus users in Sidmouth, and other parts of East Devon, can now travel with them free under the new national bus fare scheme. As part of the new free bus pass scheme, more than 29,000 bus passes have been issued to residents in East Devo

CARERS of disabled bus users in Sidmouth, and other parts of East Devon, can now travel with them free under the new national bus fare scheme.

As part of the new free bus pass scheme, more than 29,000 bus passes have been issued to residents in East Devon.

East Devon District Council sent out passes last week to residents qualifying for the free scheme, which came into effect on Tuesday (April 1).

They have gone to existing bus pass holders and anyone who sent in their application by mid-March.

EDDC's corporate director, Diccon Pearse, whose staff have overseen the printing and distribution of the passes, said: "We have worked very hard to ensure those residents who are eligible for the new passes had them ready to use on April 1.

EDDC has also led the way and added two further improvements to the scheme. We have agreed that companions should be included on the passes for eligible disabled residents, to enable them to be accompanied, free, by a carer or relative whilst they are travelling.

"In addition to this, we have extended the hours of use by our residents so that they may travel from 9.00am to midnight Monday to Friday and all day weekends and bank holidays, whilst the national scheme allows them to travel from 9.30am to 11.00 pm Monday to Friday and all day weekends and bank holidays."

The council's dedicated concessionary bus fares team is working to ensure all applications received since the middle of March are processed as quickly as possible.

Anyone who has not yet received their new pass because they moved recently, or suspect it may have got lost in the post, may continue to travel free within the district, using the old pass, until their new one is issued.

If there are any problems with passes issued, EDDC says it is committed to resolving them quickly.

More information, including application forms, can be found in tourist information centres throughout the district and on the council's website, or phone (01395) 571500 or email buspass@eastdevon.gov.uk.

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