Transportation for the elderly is a well-known issue. As people progress into old age, driving a car becomes more of a struggle. This means that to travel from one place to another they would need to rely on public transport, relatives and friends. For such senior citizens, whose only income may be solely their pension, travelling from one place to another can be an unnecessary expense.
The government has recently announced a new scheme where people over seventy-five years of age will benefit from free public transport. This means that more than nineteen thousand people stand to benefit! This project is part of the Government Free Travel Scheme.
This initiative was launched at the beginning of the year, is a measure of last year’s budget programme to enhance the notion of free public transport. When discussing free public transport, one also needs to keep in mind that last year, anyone aged between fourteen and twenty, together with those who studied full time and were above twenty years of age, could travel with no expense.
Ian Borg, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects stated that the scope of the project extends to much more than this. The government’s vision is to arrive at a point where everyone can benefit from free public transport.
What also may surprise a few is the fact that the number of people using public transport continues to grow. When comparing to 2018, the previous year saw more than four million passengers using public transport. There was also almost a seventy per cent increase in public transport users when compared to 2012.
Just like similar schemes, anyone who is eligible will be refunded the money spent on public transport at the end of each month. It is emphasised that the scheme is a reflection of the priority that the government gives to senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Such initiatives are important because they help the elderly to participate and contribute to different societal aspects. This is an initiative aimed at combating social exclusion since the elderly have more opportunities to interact socially with others.
The scheme is launched together with the support and collaboration of Air Malta and Centrecom, whereby the latter will be allocating a team of customer service agents to provide efficient support to those who are eligible for this scheme.
What do you think about this government launched scheme? Would you have any other suggestions to make? Let us know in the comments section below.