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Older person bus pass holders may benefit from a host of new benefits following decisions at next week’s Traffic and Transportation decision meeting.

Extending the hours older person bus pass holders can travel for free on buses is set to be considered at Portsmouth City Council’s Traffic and Transportation decision meeting next week. This is one of the recommendations Councillors will examine alongside extending the current trial for pre-9am travel for those older person bus pass holders with proof of a hospital appointment. There is also a proposal to extend the Park and Ride bus service contract with First Solent.

A recommendation is being made to extend the free service for older person bus holders to 2am rather than 11pm. This follows the changes made in January to the hours in which the buses operate so that shift workers and others can travel later at night when they need to.

Additionally, the Council will consider extending the current trial for earlier free travel for older person’s bus pass holders who have early morning hospital appointments to 31 March 2024. If accepted this would mean these bus passengers will continue to have access to free bus travel when they need it the most. And the council would collect more data about the people that are benefiting from the service so they can review whether this can continue beyond the trial.

The bus travel trial has given older residents free bus travel to reach Queen Alexandra Hospital or St Mary’s Community Health Campus before 9am (when they produce evidence of a hospital appointment by showing a printed appointment letter, text message, or email confirmation to the bus driver). This has made it easier for people to get to important hospital appointments and help reduce their travel expenses when money is tight for so many. (The start time for older persons’ concessionary passes on Monday to Friday was extended from 9.30am to 9am last November.)

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: “Making sure our older residents can access free travel at the times they need to is really important and I have heard from many people who have been benefiting from the trial so far. I look forward to discussing the recommendations to improve access to buses for older residents at the decision meeting.”

During the same Traffic and Transportation Decision Meeting next week, recommendations will also be considered to extend the current Portsmouth Park and Ride contract with First Solent to 26 October 2024. The park and ride is another important service that offers many people affordable, greener travel into the city and if the recommendation is accepted this will provide an opportunity for Portsmouth City Council to explore the possibility of electric buses and carbon neutral services for the park and ride in the future.

More information about the park and ride is available on this website.

The Traffic and Transportation decision meeting will take place on Thursday 16 February 2023.