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Written Statement - Concessionary Fares Rail Scheme

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Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities

I have taken the decision to continue funding the popular concessionary fares rail scheme. The scheme will continue to operate across the same four rural lines, increased from a one to two year period. 

The scheme will restart on the Heart of Wales in the winter months (3 October 2011 until 31 March 2012, and 1 October 2012 until 31 March 2013) for eligible Cerdyn Cymru passholders in Carmarthenshire and Powys.

Citizens of Swansea are no longer eligible for the scheme on the Heart of Wales Line. This is because the scheme has continued in areas where Local Authorities have provided partnership funding. This funding has been withdrawn by the City and County of Swansea, despite Welsh Government funding being available for support.

I am grateful for the continued funding from Conwy, Gwynedd, Powys, Carmarthenshire, Flintshire and Wrexham Local Authorities, which has made the continuation of the scheme possible.

Gwynedd Cerdyn Cymru passholders will be eligible for free travel on the Cambrian Coast, between Machynlleth and Pwllhelli, with some restrictions on busy school trains. This scheme will also operate in the winter months over the next two years.

I am continuing the scheme on the Borderlands and Conwy Valley Lines until 30 September 2013. Eligible Cerdyn Cymru passholders in Flintshire and Wrexham can continue to travel on the Borderlands Line, except for the busy morning peak train into Wrexham. Eligible Conwy and Gwynedd passholders can continue to enjoy free travel on the Conwy Valley Line. 

My decision was made following consideration of an evaluation report submitted by the Wales Transport Research Centre at the University of Glamorgan. The evaluations have demonstrated that the schemes have successfully met the objectives of enabling elderly and disabled people to access key settlements in rural areas by rail.

The scheme will be subject to a further review at the end of the two year funding period.