03/04/2002

Minister lauds free travel initiative as a success story

More than 90,000 senior citizens have already applied for their SmartPasses that will entitle them to free travel with Translink, the Minister for Social Development Nigel Dodds has said.

The Social Security Agency working with the Department for Regional Development and Translink have brought about the free travel initiative, which was approved by the Assembly last year.

Speaking on Wednesday April 4, Mr Dodds said: “So far we have had responses from more than 90,000 people which is very encouraging. But we will continue with the publicity effort for some time to come.

“It is vital that we do all we can to ensure that our senior citizens have access to information which gives them the opportunity to obtain the public services that are theirs by right.”

The Social Security Agency has been involved in a major mailing exercise over the past few months during which 220,000 application forms and leaflets were issued to senior citizens to publicise the introduction of the concessionary fares SmartPass on 1 May.

The campaign, the minister explained, is continuing on a quarterly basis to keep up with further people as they become eligible. A further 4,000 application forms and leaflets are being mailed across Northern Ireland over the next week.

“This will help ensure that all those who are, or will become, eligible for the new SmartPass face as little delay as possible,” Mr Dodds concluded.

(AMcE)

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