OAPs celebrate return to free rides on trams

Service users at the Fleetwood tram stop outside the library
Service users at the Fleetwood tram stop outside the library
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After two years and several campaigns, Wyre’s pensioners are finally able to ride free on the trams again.

On Friday, residents from Fleetwood, Cleveleys and elsewhere in the borough stepped onto the trams and were allowed to use their Nowcards for the first time since the concessions ended in April 2014.

The free travel on the trams was axed after Blackpool Council said it could no longer afford to fund the travel of pensioners from outside its boundaries in the resort.

But after a deal was struck between Labour-run Lancashire County and Blackpool councils, the concession was brought back into effect on Friday – the start of the new financial year.

Fleetwood woman Angela Patchett, who led one campaign, said: “It was always an unfair rule and was bad news for Fleetwood, Cleveleys and even the shops in Blackpool.

“It’s brilliant that the free travel is back.”

Bob Mason, service delivery director at Blackpool Transport, said: “Wyre residents with valid NowCards don’t need to do anything, they can simply show their NowCard on the tram and the chip will recognise where they are from. This won’t apply to people from others areas of Lancashire, such as Bolton or Lytham.”

The concession was re-instated after a transitional grant from the Government meant that cash-strapped County Hall could agreed to continue the £314,000 a year it provides to Blackpool for maintenance to the tram tracks – and Blackpool in turn agreed to reinstate the concessionary fares on the trams for Wyre pensioners.