Derry man left partially sighted after brain injury calls for free bus passes

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A Waterside man who was left partially sighted and unable to drive following a brain injury joined local disability campaigners at the Playhouse on Wednesday to call on the Transport Minister, Chris Hazzard, to make free bus passes available to anyone unable to use a car due to medical reasons.

Brian Murray said that following his injury a number of years ago he was entitled to a half fare travel concession pass. However, he is not entitled to the full concessionary fare pass given to people registered as blind who also cannot drive. Mr Murray wants the full concessionary pass to be extended to all those who are not allowed to drive for medical reasons.

“This has impacted on my ability to live life fully and independently. I am often dependant on family members to drive me from A to B,” he said.

“A full concession travel pass would allow me to travel on public transport without restriction, allowing me to be more flexible and independent in how I live my life. “It is not acceptable to me that budgetary constraints would be used by a government department to deny me equal and inclusive access to public transport that many other people enjoy,” he added.

Mr Murray and local campaigners were joined by People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann for the official launch of the Smart Pass Equality Campaign at the Playhouse Theatre in Derry.