Wednesday, 28 November 2007

All aboard for free travel in Coventry

People turning 60 in Coventry will be able to apply for their free travel pass on their doorstep thanks to a revolutionary new application service being launched in the city on 03 December.

West Midlands public transport developer, Centro-WMPTA has teamed up with Coventry City Council to launch a new Check & Send facility across the city to make it easier for people to apply.

In a UK first, the service will be available on board the Coventry Direct Express bus, a one stop shop that travels into the heart of the city’s communities to give residents help and advice on a wide range of services.

People approaching their 60th birthday can hop on the bus or visit one of the council's one-stop shops to apply for their free travel pass. This gives them free use of buses, trains and trams in the West Midlands, and, from 01 April 2008, local buses across England too.

Trained advisors will help people fill out their forms and check they are correct, helping to ease the worry of making mistakes and delaying the application.

Their form will be sent back to Centro-WMPTA free of charge where it will be processed. A new pass will land on their door mat within four weeks of them applying.

Public transport information and advice, including personalised journey plans, timetables and details of ticket ranges will also be available.

Coventry’s two main Post Offices will stop producing travel passes on the 01 January 2008, when Check & Send will completely take over.

Cllr Andrew Williams (Con, Bablake), lead member for Coventry for Centro-WMPTA said: "Free travel passes often provide a lifeline to senior citizens by making it easier for them to access healthcare and shops, and visit family and friends."

"By moving the application service to Check & Send centres, applying for one of these key passes has never been more straightforward. It gives people a much wider choice of where to apply, taking the service into the heart of communities together with the help and travel advice they need."

Cllr Heather Johnson (Con, Woodlands), Coventry City Council's Cabinet Member responsible for customer services said,

"Our one-stop shops are about making it easier for people to use the services they want and need, close to home. Joining forces with Centro-WMPTA will help us improve the range of services available and help make a difference to local people."

An added benefit to Check & Send is that all photos will be electronically scanned. This means if people lose their pass they can simply call Centro-WMPTA and have a replacement sent straight to their home, instead of them having to go through the process of getting new photos and reapplying.

The Coventry Direct Express bus will take Check & Send to nine different locations every week - Radford, Holbrook, Holyhead Road, Hillfields, Quinton Park, Wyken, Willenhall, Courthouse Green and Canley.

The service will also be available at one-stop shops in Tile Hill Library, Bell Green Library and the Barley Lea, and the Coventry Direct outlet in Stoke Aldermoor.

People can go to a Check & Send centre a month before they turn 60 to ensure they have their pass in time for their birthday.

Importantly, people who become 60 in January 2008 will need to apply for their pass during December if they want to travel for free from their birthday. People whose 60th birthday is during December should still apply at the Post Office.