Swanley pensioners 'up in arms' over mini-bus price hike

A group of pensioners who could be left housebound due to rise in bus fare

A group of pensioners who could be left housebound due to rise in bus fare

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

Around 1,000 pensioners in the Swanley area face losing their freedom as the price of a beloved Age Concern bus rises.

The bus, run by Rural Age Concern Darent Valley, transports elderly residents to Swanley for shopping and club trips from areas such as Crockenhill, Farningham, Hextable, Horton Kirby and New Ash Green.

The mini bus runs every day and costs pensioners just £1 per journey.

But from July bus users will be asked to pay a quarterly payment in advance.

The payment, which equates to approximately £1.50 per journey, will cost £40 per quarter for one return use of transport each week - reduced to £25 for those who only use the service fortnightly.

Alexander Walker, aged 68, of Russett Way, Swanley, is the chairman of the Swanley Monday Club and committee member of the town's Thursday Club.

He is concerned club members, aged 70 to 90, will no longer be able to afford the service and could become trapped in their own homes.

He said: "They're up in arms about it.

"For some of them it is their only life-line.

"I care about them, I don't want to see them stuck inside."

Thursday club member, June Garnham, aged 79, from Crockenhill said: "I'm quite concerned about this.

"I use the bus five days a week so it would be about £800 for me and I can't afford all that money.

"I would have to leave the club and this is the only thing we've got in Swanley."

Age Concern chief officer John Arnold said: "We regret some clients are unhappy about this but at the end of the day we have a duty of care to provide the best service we can.

"Running costs have gone up and we have to balance that out.

"When we took over from Sevenoaks they were using a pre-pay scheme and that worked really well. "We are only asking clients to pay every three months and for about half the price of what Sevenoaks were charging.

"A lot of people were keen to have this kind of system back."

Comments (2)

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5:37pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Eyeball Paul says...

50% price hike to a pensioner is a very substantial price hike, i wonder if John Arnold can justify this with any relevant paperwork as charities notoriously pay very little tax and benefit from reduced rates in rent. Also, to expect pensioners to pay upfront 3 months in advance when they could well be taken ill or have multiple hospital visits is absurd and smells of profiteering. I'm sure no refunds will be offered to those unlucky enough to be taken ill. Profit once again dictating the availability of services to the pensioners of Swanley.
50% price hike to a pensioner is a very substantial price hike, i wonder if John Arnold can justify this with any relevant paperwork as charities notoriously pay very little tax and benefit from reduced rates in rent. Also, to expect pensioners to pay upfront 3 months in advance when they could well be taken ill or have multiple hospital visits is absurd and smells of profiteering. I'm sure no refunds will be offered to those unlucky enough to be taken ill. Profit once again dictating the availability of services to the pensioners of Swanley. Eyeball Paul
  • Score: 2

10:22pm Mon 16 Jun 14

white rabbit9 says...

I don't think they give a toss, it's pensioners so everyone is out to get all there money before they die. It's how a parasite earth works.
I don't think they give a toss, it's pensioners so everyone is out to get all there money before they die. It's how a parasite earth works. white rabbit9
  • Score: 4

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