As you will be aware many people with learning disabilities across Wales have been asked to renew their bus passes.
This is because Transport for Wales/ Local authorities are checking that those who have bus passes are genuinely entitled to them.
The PIP criteria does not give many members enough points to qualify for a new bus pass and many members have not lost their bus pass.
This was first brought to our attention at the National Council meeting in June 2022 by West Glamorgan People First. Their members’ passes were just stopping without notice or explanation. Members who had been eligible for and using their passes for years without issue.
The group’s support worker had tried to find out more. Who was responsible for stopping the passes? Was it just happening in the Neath Port Talbot area?
At that time no other groups or organisations seemed aware of the problem and why it had suddenly occurred.
Shortly after this, more and more members told us they were experiencing the same problems.
The National Council wanted All Wales People First to make this a priority.
We have worked very hard since then.
We raised the issue at the Learning Disability Consortium meeting and regular meetings we have with the Welsh Government.
The Learning Disability Consortium are:
- All Wales People First
- Learning Disability Wales
- Mencap Cymru
- All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers
- Cymorth Cymru
- Diverse Cymru
I also suggested that the bus pass issue should be discussed at the Cross Party Group on Learning Disability.
The secretariat for the Cross Party Group is Learning Disability Wales.
Bus passes were discussed at the last Cross Party group meeting, and we invited our National Council member Simon Richards to speak about his experiences.
He made a big impression on the Co-chair of the meeting Sioned Williams MS and all in attendance at the meeting. Sioned Williams MS agreed to ask a question about the bus pass situation in the Senedd.
Simon also spoke about his experiences on ITV news on the 10th of August. Big thanks to Simon for doing this at such short notice. It was a tight deadline, but Simon and I managed to fit in some preparation time ahead of his interview.
Through sharing his lived experience of losing his bus pass, and his passion for public transport, Simon gave a great interview representative of our National Councils concerns.
I have also written to Lee Waters MS who is the minister overseeing transport in Wales.
We collected and shared members stories with him. The stories explain the bus pass difficulties.
He took this very seriously.
Lee Waters MS confirmed that the eligibility criteria has not changed.
He asked if he could share our members stories with Transport for Wales and Local authority concessionary fare representatives.
Representatives from Transport for Wales will be speaking to members at our next National Council meeting in September.
Representatives from Transport for Wales will hear our members experiences and hopefully reassure them that things will be put right.
A few of our members who lost their bus passes have now been given them back.
But we are still hearing of ongoing issues with renewals. There is still a long way to go but we are continuing to work hard and speak to the right people who can make change happen.
All Wales People First will always represent your concerns at the highest level.
Our campaign shows the power of our National Council and how effective it can be to make real change in Wales.
Our National Council is what makes us All Wales People First.
Victory for Self-Advocacy.