we need the bus to help us live our lives. Most people with learning disability will never drive. Most of us need some kind of special help to use public transport. Under the old rules, we could not use the bus before 9 o’clock, so we could not get to work, college, or to our Centre on time. More of us live in the community now, and travelling on buses free helps us have better lives.
Having a free bus card makes travel much easier for us. The problem is that when we have to renew our cards, the system is very hard to understand. People who are getting low rate mobility DLA are being told that they can’t get a card, even if they have had one before. There are other ways to get a card, but the forms are very hard to fill in, and some people can’t get help to do this. Some people just give up when they are told that they can’t renew their card.
More and more people are going to have this problem as their cards go out of date. If they can’t renew their card, they will be worse off than before the new rules on free bus travel came in.
We are asking for Parliament to change the rules so that anyone who gets Disability Living Allowance can get a card, even if they are on the low rate. The Disability Living Allowance is a benefit which lots of people can claim. It is a good way of knowing that someone has a disability.
We think that this would not cost the Government much more money, but it would help a lot of people. We do not think that the Government meant to stop people with learning disability getting free bus travel when they made the new law.
I hope that Parliament will do something about this, and thank you for listening to me.
Sally Ann Elfverson, LDAS Chair, June 2008.