Kent County Council voted unanimously in support of the Liberal Democrat motion [see below] today. The motion was proposed by Ian Chittenden and seconded by Ida Lindfield, It was then accepted, without amendment, by the Cabinet Member on behalf of the Conservative Group.
Now the KCC officers need a constructive negotiation with the bus operators. Then we will need agreement at February's budget meeting. So there is still some way to go but it's a good step forward.
Let's hope we will get approval in place in time for Kent's disabled persons and their companions to use their bus passes from next April onwards.
Full text of motion
Agenda Item 10: Removal of peak time restrictions to the Disabled Person's Bus Pass
Proposer: Ian Chittenden Seconder: Ida Linfield
At present, holders of the Disabled Person's Bus Pass in Kent are restricted to being able to travel between 9:30am and 11:00pm on weekdays (off-peak). However, in Wales, Scotland and some parts of England, such restrictions do not apply. Research by the charity Scope shows that those living with a disability face additional costs of £583 per month on average, and that disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed. See note 1 below. By removing the current peak time restrictions within Kent, it would make it more affordable for people with disabilities to travel for work or medical appointments, while promoting use of public transport.
"The Council requests that the Head of Public Transport enter into negotiations with the bus operating companies with a view to removing the peak time restrictions under the terms and conditions of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) for both the Disabled Person's Bus Pass and Disabled Person + Companion Pass in Kent.
The Council supports removing restrictions on disabled travel and asks the Cabinet Member to put the necessary measures in place with effect from April 2020, subject to approval of the necessary budget implications at the County Council meeting in February and satisfactory outcomes from negotiations with bus operating companies." (See note 2 below.)