Older people are being given an extra helping hand this Christmas with the introduction of a £1 single fare to travel by bus before their free travel pass becomes valid at 9:30am each week day.
The reduced fare is the result of a collaboration between Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and bus operator National Express West Midlands.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport on the WMCA and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council said: “This is yet another example of how our Bus Alliance partnership with National Express is helping to keep fares as low as possible and in this case even reduce them.
“TfWM already provides older and disabled people with free travel after 9:30am on not just buses but also local trams and trains.
“But this new £1 single fare will provide an extra helping hand for many older people, especially those on lower incomes, who need to travel by bus earlier in the day.
“The work we have done with National Express to introduce this £1 single fare also means there is no extra cost to local taxpayers, so it’s good news all round.”
Tom Stables, Managing Director for National Express West Midlands, said: “National Express West Midlands buses are for everyone. So I’m delighted to offer this £1 single fare to our senior citizens. They’ll be available to buy them on our buses in the New Year.”
Walsall councillor Richard Worrall, who chairs the WMCA’s Transport Delivery Committee, added: “I'd like to say well done to the campaigners of West Midlands Pensioners' Convention, and a huge thank you to the management of National Express West Midlands and officers of TfWM who have worked together to enable this significant widening of the travel options of the nearly half-a-million older and disabled citizens of the West Midlands who hold concessionary travel passes.
"I hope that other bus operators who do not presently offer this fare will now follow suit so that there is an 'early bird' £1 single flat fare on Mondays-Fridays for all concessionary pass holders on all buses in the West Midlands."
Around 20 per cent of the West Midlands population is made up of senior citizens - that’s higher than the UK average of 17 per cent. So more than 500,000 pensioners qualify for this new pre-9:30am £1 single fare.
The £1 single fare will be available to anyone with an English concessionary pass, including the disabled person's pass.