MPs lobby for travel card funds

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley is lobbying the Government to partly fund a discount travel scheme in Suffolk.

He wants the Coalition to extend its support for a public transport smartcard pilot in Norfolk to Suffolk.

In a letter to Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Transport, Mr Ruffley and fellow Suffolk MPs including Matthew Hancock say the county council is proposing a joint funding venture to ensure the pilot covers both counties.

The letter reads: “In order to achieve an expanded pilot, Suffolk County Council would be pleased to commit to injecting £1.4 million of its own funding, thus requiring the Department for Transport to provide the further £1 million for the scope of the scheme to be extended to operators on a cross county basis.”

Norfolk County Council is to receive £2.5 million for its pilot.

Suffolk County Council recently announced a smartcard roll out to be funded solely from its resources.

The letter added: “The Norfolk pilot could hinder what we are trying to achieve for Suffolk. Not only would the primary attention of bus operators, a number of whom serve both counties, be on Norfolk as a ntioanl pilot, it would also have the effect of disadvantaging young people in Suffolk.”