The SNP have demanded a travel company issue a correction after it emerged its Managing Director sent emails to Scottish customers claiming the concessionary fares scheme would be cut.
The Nationalists lambasted National Express after the company wrongly emailed customers in Scotland claiming the scheme which allows pensioners and other group free bus travel was about to end – when in fact it is being protected by the SNP Government.
Andrew Cleaves, the Managing Director of National Express, send a blanket email to customers throughout the UK earlier this week urging them to contact their member of parliament after the Tory Lib Dem coalition announced an end the English scheme.
However the email did not make it clear that passengers in Scotland would be unaffected.
SNP MSP Dave Thomson today demanded National Express correct their email to customers in Scotland.
Mr Thompson the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said:
“I was really concerned to hear that a national coach company had alarmed Scottish customers by wrongly informing them that the reduced coach travel they benefit from was to end in October.
“We do things differently in Scotland and the SNP recognises how important concessionary fares are for our elderly population.
“The Tory-Lib Dem cuts mean bad news for the people from many parts of the UK but the SNP Government is working hard to protect the people of Scotland from these damaging cuts.”
The scheme in England which enabled half-price coach travel for pensioners ends on October 31, 2011 as part of Tory-Lib Dem spending cuts programme.
However, as transport is devolved, the SNP Scottish Government will continue to protect concessionary travel scheme in Scotland.
Mr Thompson added:
“I will be writing to National Express asking them to clarify for all passengers in Scotland that these cuts do not apply to them and that concessionary travel on coach travel in Scotland will continue.
“The company must correct their mistakes and make sure passengers in Scotland are re-assured that their travel scheme remains intact.”
The National Express email:
Important news on the concessionary fares scheme
As somebody who has used the Government’s half price coach ticket scheme, we want to give you some important information.
The scheme currently provides up to half price travel for over 60 year olds and disabled people through Government funding.
The Government has announced that this funding will end on 31 October 2011 as part of its spending cuts programme.
While we are looking to introduce a replacement scheme, without the government funding it is not possible to make discounts as high and the cost of travel will increase for you.
We have written to the Government to ask that they reconsider this decision. We have also written to a number of MPs to raise our concerns. Many MPs have told us they agree and have written to ministers at the Department for Transport to ask them whether they have considered the potential impact on eligible passengers’ ability to travel.
From your letters and emails, we know that many of you rely on the half price fares. Some have also expressed concern that without it, they may not be able to travel. If you share these concerns, perhaps you could write to, or email, your local MP to encourage them to raise your concern with the Department for Transport.
If you wish to write to your local MP we have included a letter template that you may want to use, simply add your details, print and send.