Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“Whilst the details provided in the Minister’s statement are very limited, I am concerned that the proposed changes to the eligibility age for a concessionary bus pass will have a significant impact on many older people throughout Wales.
“Accessible and reliable public transport is essential for older people, supporting them to remain independent, get out and about, visit friends and family, do the things that matter to them, attend medical appointments, access services and stay connected to their communities.
“Many bus services in Wales have been lost in recent years, with many more currently under threat, and a reduction in the number of users on less popular routes, many of whom will be older people, is likely to further exacerbate this.
“More importantly, increasing the eligibility age will undoubtedly affect some of the most vulnerable older people in Wales, such as those living in poverty or near the poverty line, people who have given up work to care for loved ones and those living with long-term health conditions.
“Based on what the Minister has said in his statement regarding impact assessments, it seems that the Welsh Government has not yet fully considered what the impact of its proposed changes will be, or what action should be put in place to mitigate this impact. I therefore oppose the Welsh Government’s proposals and would urge them to reconsider.”