24/7 free travel to all disabled bus pass holders in Norfolk
From 1 February 2024 all Norfolk residents who hold a disabled concessionary travel pass will be eligible for free bus travel 24 hours a day, seven days a week when travelling within the county.
The decision, which was published today by Norfolk County Council, means that more than 14,500 people across the county who hold a concessionary bus pass due to disability, and their eligible companions, will now be able to travel on any bus at any time free of charge across Norfolk.
Graham Plant, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport said; “Allowing all holders of a disabled pass and their eligible companions to travel for free on buses before 09:30 opens-up a wealth of opportunities for them. It ensures they have access to work, education and leisure and helps to combat the risks of social isolation which can be associated with having a disability. In addition, encouraging more use of public transport leads to a greener future and helps towards our ambitious net-zero targets.”
Previously concessionary pass holders with a disability were only able to travel for free on buses off-peak (all day on Saturdays and Sundays but only from 09:30 Monday to Friday) except for those registered blind or visually impaired.
Offering free travel at all times is over and above the minimum requirement set by government, and is something that a local authority can choose to do but doesn’t have to do. The change was recommended following an updated equality impact assessment of the scheme which concluded that it is now unfair to offer a discretionary enhancement to just one group of disabled people (i.e. those who are blind or visually impaired).
The recommendation agreed by the individual cabinet member was to ‘extend the concessionary travel discretion of free travel at all times to all eligible disabled passholders and eligible companions, from 1 February 2024.’
The cost of providing this enhancement is estimated at £50,000 which will be funded by the Council’s ring-fenced public transport budget provided by the Department for Transport.