Posts Tagged ‘Transport’

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“On the fourth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 5, 2009

Budget minus 4 – Saturday 5 December

“On the fourth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Carbon Tax relief

Dear Brian,

We are very concerned that the introduction of a carbon tax may only worsen the position of the 10% of older people who are already experiencing fuel poverty.

The Parliament is seeking assurances that measures to protect vulnerable older people will be introduced alongside any carbon taxes. We agree with the Commission’s proposal that revenues collected should be used to achieve improvement in the situation of the less well off.

We urge that this must include the less well off older people in Ireland. It is older people living alone, on low incomes, in older, poorly insulated housing that are currently struggling to heat their homes. It is these people that must be protected. A further tax on this segment of the community could result in deaths due to hypothermia this winter.

Of course a carbon tax would also affect older rural drivers. The proposal in the McCarthy report to cease state funding for the rural transport initiative – 58% of the passengers are aged 65 and over – would have a detrimental effect for many older people living in isolated areas.

The ISCP welcomed the extension of the fuel allowance from 30 weeks to 32 weeks and the increase to €20 per week.

Please increase the fuel allowance and restore the rural transport initiative.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People

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“On the sixth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 3, 2009

Budget minus 6 – Thursday 3 December

“On the sixth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Keep the Travel Pass

Dear Brian,

It is essential that the Free Travel Scheme remains in place for all Older People!

The free travel scheme is a major enabling factor in allowing the social participation of Older People in their communities. Social participation is extremely important in tackling loneliness and isolation amongst Older People. Not only does this scheme enable Older People to take part in social and civic life, it also provides them with access to essential services such as hospitals etc.

Many Older People find themselves isolated due to increasing frailty or because of high costs many of them have stopped driving. The number of people holding a full driver’s licence decreases with age; in 2006 only 44.5% of men over 80 and a mere 12.8% of women over 80 had a driver’s licence. Therefore public transport is an essential service for the many people unable to drive themselves. (CSO, 2007)

Taxi fares for a pensioner for medical visits can represent as much as 1/4 of their weekly pension. Recommendations included in the “Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditures Programmes” to reduce the costs in HSE funded non-emergency transport services by 20% would result in this service being cut by 1/5 on the ground. This would only serve to worsen the situation for many vulnerable and sick Older People.

Yours sincerely
Ireland’s Older People

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Transport

August 8, 2008

Campaign by Irish Senior Citizens Parliament for the Introduction of a Voucher System to improve Access for Older People living in Rural Areas to Transport.

One of the phenomena of the last 50 years has been the great improvement in transport both in terms of its availability and the extent to which it is used. The vast majority of our population now make greater use of transport facilities to travel both inside and outside the island by road, rail, sea and air. For a large proportion of the population this has led to increasing mobility and increased access to normal everyday facilities as well as the opportunity to visit friends and families at regular intervals.

A major factor in this access to travel facilities particularly for older people was the introduction in 1967 of the Free Travel Pass for Older People. This innovative measure gave older people the opportunity to independently access travel for social and personal reasons. The ability to travel both in cities and across the country was warmly welcomed by older people and their organisations

At that time the cost of travel, as a proportion of income was much higher than it is today. Indeed the cost of rail travel as a proportion of the average weekly wage was beyond the reach of a lot of Old Age Pensioners. In a more de-regulated environment this has now been reduced especially where bus travel is concerned. Further the move to the larger centres of population was not as marked as it later became. In most rural areas the fabric of the life continued as was with the same families living in communities, as had their forebears.

The good neighbour was the salvation for many older people living in rural isolated areas. They were relied on to give them a lift to Mass and perhaps to the local town for shopping. The increasing change in demographics in rural areas, which saw the move to the country of families who were working in nearby towns, changed the position for a lot of older people. However this dependency on the “Good Neighbour “meant that the Older person was not independent and had no way of travelling to the local town or village to access Free travel independently. Increasing they saw the benefits which people living in towns and villages with the ability to undertake journeys at times that suited their needs were deriving from the Free Travel Scheme.

Since its inception the Parliament has recognised that travel was available to older people however it equally recognised that such access was not equally available to ALL older people. Those living in rural isolated areas continued to lack the facility to get to the nearest point at which they might access the Public Transport system and so avail of their free travel. For this reason the Parliament has continued to lobby for a system where a number of vouchers would be issued to older people to enable them to access taxis and hackneys which would bring them to the nearest point of access to the Free Travel system. For a number of older people this matter is Urgent, as they cannot wait for realisation of some of the initiatives, which are currently under way. It is a fact of life that they just may not be here to avail of the improved services when it is in place.

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