Tram pass issue will be debated by MPs

Tram at Fisherman's Walk, Fleetwood
Tram at Fisherman's Walk, Fleetwood

The controversial decision to axe free tram travel for some pensioners on the Fylde coast will be discussed by MPs in Parliament tomorrow.

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard has secured a debate on concessionary tram travel after months of trying.

It is almost two years since Blackpool Council stopped funding free travel for NowCard holders living outside the resort, meaning pensioners in Fleetwood and Cleveleys have to pay full fare.

Ahead of the debate, Mr Maynard said: “I will ask the Government whether they might be able to do anything, would they consider changing the national scheme?

“I have met ministers privately in the department but we have never had a debate in the house – I have been trying to get this for months.”

Budget constraints mean Lancashire County Council, the transport authority for Wyre and Fylde, which is facing more than £300m of cuts over the next four years, is unwilling to subsidise concessionary travel for pensioners in the region.

MPs have previously called for the national concessionary travel scheme, which requires councils to provide discount bus fares for the elderly and disabled, to be extended to include trams.

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions back in October, saying the trams were ‘often easier to use’ for people.

But she got a letter the next day from a junior minister saying there were ‘no plans to extend’ the scheme given the ‘current financial climate’.