Friday, 17 February 2012 10:33



NORTH Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood, has criticised the “sneaky” way in which the Welsh Government announced on Thursday that instead of ending the Community Transport Concessionary Fare Initiative (CTCFI), there would now be an evaluation of the scheme - and that funding for CTCFI schemes would now continue until the evaluation was completed.

Mr Isherwood has criticised the Minister, Carl Sargeant, for announcing the news in a Written Statement read out by the Chair of the Cross Party Group on Older People and Ageing at its meeting on Thursday afternoon, at which he was the only other AM present, instead of making a Statement to the full Assembly, as he called for last month (see notes below


Mr Isherwood, who has repeatedly highlighted in the Assembly Chamber the vital role of community transport schemes, such as Flintshire’s Welsh Border Community Transport and Denbighshire’s Dial-A-Ride said: “I am shocked that the Minister chose to sneak his answer out in this way. This merited a statement to the full Assembly, as I had previously called for. Instead, it was just read out by the Chair of the Cross Party Group on the last afternoon before an Assembly recess with only one other Assembly Member, myself, present. Despite weeks of campaigning, none of those present, including Betsan Caldwell, Community Transport Association Co- Director for Wales, representatives of Denbighshire Dial-A-Ride, WRVS, Age Cymru and others had received any pre-notice of this.

“Unlike official Assembly Committees, Cross-Party Groups are not formal Assembly groupings, are not therefore bound by any of the Assembly’s Standing Orders and have no formal role in policy development.

“To make this statement on such an important issue in this way showed contempt for the Assembly and a complete failure to understand the implications for both Community Transport providers and those dependent upon their services.

“I asked the Cross Party Group Chair, Mike Hedges AM, to ask the Minister to provide urgent details of his announcement to providers. The impact of the uncertainty on them, and on the people who rely on them, must be acknowledged and addressed.

“The Welsh Government must carry out a proper cost benefit analysis in advance of any decision, recognising the savings which Community Transport Services provide by allowing older people to live independently in their homes rather than in care homes.”

The Welsh Government’s  Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative was set up in 2005 to find the best way to put right an unfairness in the All Wales Concessionary Travel scheme, which discriminates against those very elderly and severely disabled people who are eligible for a bus pass but who find it difficult to use ordinary bus services. 




Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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