With only a few weeks remaining until the renewal deadline, Merton’s older and disabled Freedom Pass holders are being urged to ensure they renew their pass by the end of this month so they can continue to enjoy free travel across the capital.
According to London Councils there are still as many as 1 million older and disabled residents around the capital still yet to renew their passes.
The new cards will take up to 10 working days to be provided and will be sent by post rather than being available immediately over the counter, so Freedom Pass holders are being urged to ensure they apply for their new pass well before the 31 March deadline.
Predominantly funded by the council, the Freedom Pass allows Merton residents aged 60 and over plus eligible disabled residents to travel for free on the capital’s buses, trains, London Underground, trams, and the Docklands Light Railway as well as local buses across the country.
The passes are normally renewed every two years to help prevent fraud, with the current passes running out on 31 March 2010. However, the new style passes will be valid for five years.
Residents over 60 can either download the form or pick it up from the Post Office and eligible disabled residents will be contacted by the council.
Merton Council cabinet member for adult care services and health, Councillor Maurice Groves said:
‘The Freedom Pass is highly valued by our older, retired and disabled residents in helping them to live as independent a life as possible. We are proud to fund this free travel scheme for Merton residents and I would urge all pass holders across the borough to ensure they renew their passes as soon as possible well ahead of the 31 March deadline.’
London boroughs have paid for the Freedom Pass, run on their behalf by London Councils, for over 20 years and have invested more than £3 billion into the scheme during that time.
Further information about how to renew your Freedom Pass or apply for the first time is available from http://www.freedompass.org or through the Freedom Pass telephone support line 0845 275 7054 or 020 7934 9633 (Mondays-Fridays between 9am and 5pm).
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People who become eligible for a Freedom Pass for the first time from 1 January 2010 will be issued with the new-style pass when they first apply.
The new style Freedom Pass now looks similar to passes issued across the rest of the country under the National Concessionary Bus Travel scheme.
From January 2010, residents have been able to fill out and download the new style application form from this website http://www.freedompass.org which you can then take to any London Post Office branch, or pick up a printed version from the local Post Office. Applicants will need to return the form to the Post Office and take along documents to prove their identity and address as well as a passport sized photograph. The Freedom Pass will then be sent to them through the post within 10 days. Eligible disabled people will have already been contacted by their local borough.