Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has described a Government proposal to bring in a €50 annual charge to replace the Free Travel Pass as a non-runner and said that the new proposed charge needs “to be consigned to the bin.”
The proposal was contained in an internal Government report that was supposedly leaked to the media.
Other proposals in the report include a move towards reduced fares rather than the current free fares system, and a fresh review and stricter interpretation of the medical requirements for companion passes for people who are unable to travel alone because of impairment.
Speaking of the proposed changes, Deputy Crowe said:
“The Pass provides a vital service for those who have already contributed to society, those who need the Pass to attend hospital appointments, and a vital lifeline for people with disabilities.
“The Pass helps ensure against isolation for people in rural areas and contributes to social inclusion for many of those who qualify.
“The vast majority of people in receipt of the Travel Pass rely on it for their travel needs.
“It is vital that it is protected and that it remains a free travel pass.
“The vast majority of those who have a Pass are also reliant on a tiny or modest income, and any additional charge would have a profound effect on their lives.
“The current Government needs to realise that any attempt to add an additional charge will be resisted by all those availing of the Pass, including their families, their friends, and their communities.
“The Think Tank who came up with this mean and unfair proposal needs to think again.
“This proposal needs to be rubbished, consigned to the bin, and not recycled.”