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Senior rail cards not available

PUBLISHED: 15:37 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:45 01 August 2010

SUBSIDISED rail cards which allow travellers to save up to one third off ticket prices will no longer be available for the over-60s through Waveney District Council.

SUBSIDISED rail cards which allow travellers to save up to one third off ticket prices will no longer be available for the over-60s through Waveney District Council.

The council has been a member of a concessionary travel scheme for several years, which is run by Breckland District Council and allows the authority to offer subsidised rail cards to customers over the age of 60.

At a meeting on Thursday night, Waveney's cabinet voted to stop offering the reduced-price rail cards, which have been purchased by an average of about 1,000 people a year in the district.

Until February this year, the council issued the rail cards at a cost of about £20.50, a reduction from the £24 charge for cards bought directly from the railway station.

When the council reassessed the provision of rail cards when it ran out of stock, it found that it was not able to increase the charge to cover the administration time needed to process the cards and that Yarmouth and Ipswich Borough Councils have both already opted out of the voluntary scheme.

Colin Law, the council's deputy leader and portfolio holder for customer access, said that while about 1,000 people a year bought subsidised rail cards, more than 26,000 over-60s in the district have free bus passes and that the administration involved with processing the bus passes is a more valid use of the council's time and resources.

He said: “It was a difficult decision, but the time spent processing these cards, which can be purchased elsewhere, really should be better spent on important, priority services. The current economic climate drives our need to assess how every penny is spent by the council and while this service was helpful, it was by no means essential.”

Frank Mortimer, a member of the council's overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Bus passes are a much more viable option and I think it's a much more sensible thing for us to be pushing along with.”

The cabinet also agreed to bring in a £7.50 charge to replace concessionary bus passes, except where there is proof that the card has been lost or stolen.

Senior rail cards are available from train stations and online at www.senior-railcard.co.uk.

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