At tomorrow's County Council meeting Liberal Democrat, Ian Chittenden, will ask Kent County Council to consider allowing disabled persons and their companions to use their bus passes at all times. Currently they cannot be used in Kent before 9:30am.
Being disabled should not stop someone from going to work or getting to a medical appointment or doing so many things which most of us take for granted. But it does.
Earlier this year Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson was asked what she wanted for disabled people and their use of public transport. Her answer was that she would like them to have the same challenging experience of commuting as everyone else.
Disabled people are much less likely to be in work, not because they don't want to, but because there are many challenges in getting in to work. The reason that a disabled bus card exists is because it is recognised that there are lots of additional costs but in Tanni's words, "making it only valid in off-peak hours tells disabled people that we should not be out and getting in other people's way" and "in restricting disabled people's free bus passes, councils are telling us we aren't important".
Scotland and Wales do not apply restrictions on disabled person's bus passes. Nor do Cumbria, Lancashire and West Sussex. So why should they apply in Kent?
We want our disabled persons to live as normal a life as possible. We want them to make a genuine contribution to our society and our economy. But to do so they need our help. Local organisations which support disabled persons, such as Compaid and Kent Symbol, have already backed the proposal. We hope that every Kent county councillor will support the Liberal Democrat motion tomorrow.
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