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A proposal to limit free travel could 'stop elderly people going to the doctor'

Providers want to limit the use of the pass.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated at 3pm

A PROPOSAL TO put limits on when the free travel pass can be used have been criticised.

Today’s Irish Times reports that transport providers have sought restrictions in when the pass can and can’t be used.

The free travel scheme is used by 1.2 million people, over a quarter of the Irish population, and costs around €77 million a year.

However, providers want to be able to charge those who use their services at peak hours, regardless of whether they have a pass.

The scheme is currently being reviewed by a government working group, but one body representing elderly people says any restrictions could have serious consequences.

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Peak-time restrictions on the travel pass were done away with a decade ago.

“A key reason for this is that many older people are entirely dependent on their travel pass to get to hospital and medical appointments.

A national survey of 500 older people carried out by Age Action last year found that 57 per cent said they used their travel pass to attend health or medical appointments.

“Any new restrictions would create additional barriers for older people to access healthcare.”

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