60+ smartpass: Not the finish line for older campaigners

Age Sector Platform welcomes the long-awaited introduction of the 60+ smartpass, enabling those aged 60 to 64 to avail of free public transport in Northern Ireland. This comes after today’s launch of the extended smartpass scheme by Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy.

Francis Hughes, Transport spokesperson for Age Sector Platform, commented: “The launch of the 60+ smartpass is a positive step and will allow many older people across Northern Ireland to become more independent and active in society. For many of our members, this launch signifies the finish line after several years of effective campaigning for this amendment to the scheme. However, we are not yet finished when it comes to fighting for better transport for older people.”

Francis continued: “It is important to note that existing problems with the concessionary fares system remain. Those in rural areas, for example, do not benefit as greatly from the smartpass scheme, since regular and accessible public transport is not widespread. Additional support should be given to improving other modes of transport, such as community transport, Door 2 Door transport and taxi voucher schemes, which could better meet the needs of older people in rural areas and those with mobility problems.”

“Age Sector Platform is committed to examining transport concerns which are of importance to older people in Northern Ireland and campaigning for change. We aim to improve public transport provision for older people, secure increased access to key services and increase mobility for older people.”