Essex funds free bus travel from 9am

FREE bus travel for pensioners will start at 9am next month. Residents from Takeley, Dunmow and Felsted had contacted the Broadcast office months ago when the they realised that the free bus travel times started at 9.30am,. This meant they could not get b

FREE bus travel for pensioners will start at 9am next month.

Residents from Takeley, Dunmow and Felsted had contacted the Broadcast office months ago when the they realised that the free bus travel times started at 9.30am,.

This meant they could not get by bus to nearby towns such as Braintree and Chelmsford before 10.30am at the earliest.

Uttlesford District Council had taken complaints on board and councillors gathered at the offices in Saffron Walden to try and thrash out a financial deal to subsidise the extra half hour.


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But at the time, crippling financial constraints meant the district council could not stump up the extra cash.

Now a county council led solution has helped all the local authorities to overcome financial constraints, as a fresh deal has been negotiated with bus companies in the county, which also includes extended travel to midnight, seven days a week.

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Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex County Council, explained: "This deal represents a positive step forward for concessionary fare bus users, allowing over 60s and other eligible groups to travel from 9am to midnight, and for all who pay council tax who will have to pay less as a result of these successful negotiations."

The new times will come into force on October 6 2008 and the new deal with the bus companies has reduced the overall cost to tax payers to £2million from a previous £6 million shortfall.

Cllr Pam Challis, chairman of the Essex leaders' group, said: "This scheme could have had devastating effects on councils across Essex but we have reached a deal that works for everyone."

What do you think? E-mail us editor@dunmow-broadcast.co.uk

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