Why are schemes for concessionary rail travel for the over-60s such a hotchpotch throughout Scotland? I have every sympathy with the views of Scottish Accessible Transport Alliance officials Mike Harrison and Alan Rees (your report, 6 February). They are understandably peeved that people should be able to get discounts for travelling in and out of Edinburgh from East or West Lothian but not from the Borders or Midlothian on the new route to Tweedbank. In Fife, council officials recently put forward an option of removing the concession (50p per journey within the county off-peak). Nearly five years ago the local authority removed that 50p concession for journeys to Dundee, Edinburgh and Perth.
Although this means card-holders can travel from Markinch, say, to the capital for around half price there is still the cumbersome business of buying a ticket for the Fife part of the journey and another for travel outwith. The situation on both sides of the Forth reflects very poor co-ordination between Transport Scotland, the councils and ScotRail. It contrasts markedly with the situation in London, for example.
There is a co-ordinated concession scheme – the “Freedom Pass” – for pensioners using the buses, the underground, the rail network within the London orbit, and even some of the ferries along the Thames.
The economics of all this may well be complex. But I find it difficult to believe that something similar cannot be applied north of the Border. Achieving it would show a concern for both integrated transport and the welfare of the elderly.