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Senior citizens vote, so hands off free travel passes

It is hoped that the Stormont Executive will support the commitment of DRD Minister Danny Kennedy to maintain concessionary travel for senior citizens.

This scheme benefits not only the participants, but also the wider economy, with money being spent by them in our high street cafes, restaurants and shops.

Your correspondent JC Wilson (Write Back, December 4) advocates nominal £1 and 50p single fares for trains and buses respectively.

It is doubtful that these amounts would cover the costs of changing the administration of the present, simply-operated system, with the losers being the poorer pensioners who are most dependent on public transport.

The writer hasn't thought out carefully the implications of putting time restrictions on the use of passes. Most senior citizens choose to avoid the busy crowded peak services. The people who would be most affected would be those who have to travel (sometimes daily) for early appointments for treatment at hospitals.

In hindsight, the decision to offer free travel for 60 to 65-year-olds was taken at a time when more and more people in the age group were still in the workforce.

Perhaps, if a concession were to be made, the introduction of a half-fare pass would have been more prudent for this age group.

One doesn't need to remind our politicians that the people who voted them in can easily vote them out. Senior citizens have a good record when it comes to voting. So hands off our passes.

SHAUNA MARTIN

Ballymena Rail Users' Group

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