SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has welcomed a bid by SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to extend the concessionary fares scheme.
The current scheme provides free and half fare travel on public transport, via a SmartPass, for several groups of people, including children, senior citizens and some people with disabilities.
Minister Mallon is seeking to provide free travel for people with disabilities who currently pay half fare and to widen the range of services facilitating concessionary fares by extending the scheme to new operators who have already indicated or expressed an interest in joining.
Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone said, “The extension of the concessionary fares scheme will make a real difference to people in Mid Ulster. SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has now acted to expand this scheme to allow more service operators to provide concessionary fares and allow people with disabilities to travel freely.
“People with disabilities face so many obstacles in our society. While significant progress has been made in recent years there is still much work to be done to properly cater to their needs and remove barriers that prevent them living their lives to the fullest. Offering free public transport would go some way to improving this situation and I hope the other parties in the Assembly will support Minister Mallon in her bid to secure funding for this landmark move.
“This is yet another example of Minister Mallon’s determination to deliver for local communities. While the DUP threaten to collapse our Assembly and Sinn Féin fail to support people who need it, Minister Mallon gets on with the job of government and this initiative will make life better for people right across the North.”