Keep the Travel Pass
It is essential that the Free Travel Scheme remains in place for all Older People!
The free travel scheme is a major enabling factor in allowing the social participation of Older People in their communities. Social participation is extremely important in tackling loneliness and isolation amongst Older People. Not only does this scheme enable Older People to take part in social and civic life, it also provides them with access to essential services such as hospitals etc.
Many Older People find themselves isolated due to increasing frailty or because of high costs many of them have stopped driving. The number of people holding a full driver’s licence decreases with age; in 2006 only 44.5% of men over 80 and a mere 12.8% of women over 80 had a driver’s licence. Therefore public transport is an essential service for the many people unable to drive themselves. (CSO, 2007)
Taxi fares for a pensioner for medical visits can represent as much as 1/4 of their weekly pension. Recommendations included in the “Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditures Programmes” to reduce the costs in HSE funded non-emergency transport services by 20% would result in this service being cut by 1/5 on the ground. This would only serve to worsen the situation for many vulnerable and sick Older People.
Ireland’s Older People