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Wiltshire residents face consultation problems for bus scheme

8th September 2014

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A number of councillors in Wiltshire have raised concerns with the council that those who would be most affected by major changes to the local bus pass scheme will not have the opportunity to be involved with the public consultation. The council has suggested that the scheme should only be valid from 9am-9.30pm during the week, which could affect elderly people and mobility aid users who use the service. The difficulty lies in that the consultation is online, which limits the number of people who can have their say.

While the scheme will be available at all times throughout weekends and on Bank Holidays, there are concerns that its limits throughout the week would poorly suit perhaps those who need it most – the elderly and mobility restricted. For those who rely on curved stairlifts and other such mobility aids at home to get around, the bus pass scheme can act as a lifeline to provide them with their much-needed independence.

‘The elderly and disabled have to travel miles’

The councillors in question who have raised their concerns with the public consultation have highlighted in this article their feelings over the scheme and the changes as a whole.

The consolation is due to take place online and many of the elderly Wiltshire residents of whom these changes are due to affect do not have access to a computer or are not equipped with the technological experience to submit their concerns online. Wiltshire councillor Terry Chivers said of the issue, “I welcome the consultation, but unless you are online it’s hard to take part in the consultation.” Going on to state that “I was told that forms will be made available at Council offices in Trowbridge, Chippenham, and Salisbury. This means that the elderly and disabled have to travel miles just to fill out a form, it’s just not good enough and it just won’t happen.”

While the changes to the scheme are due to save the council around £180,000 a year, the cuts to the scheme are a step to far for elderly residents who may feel isolated to their home where they know they can move about in safety thanks to their mobility aids and rise and recliner chairs.

Image Credit: Herry Lawford (flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.