Women across the West Midlands whose retirement age has been pushed back by several years could get a free travel pass early, it was revealed today.
The board of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will be asked to approve the 2019/20 budget next week which includes an allocation to help provide travel support for women who have been affected by changes to the state pension age.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and the leaders of the region’s seven metropolitan authorities have asked Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to look at ways of helping some of the women worst hit by the pension law changes.
They have been considering the concerns of local women frustrated at having to wait longer than originally planned to get their free travel pass.
If the Board approves the budget at its meeting in Birmingham on Friday (February 8) then TfWM, which is part of the WMCA, will work up a travel pass scheme over the coming weeks for approval by the Board.
This will include precise details about who will be eligible and on what forms of transport the pass could be used.
Subject to budget approval those details are expected to be announced in the spring with a scheme launching in the autumn.
The delayed pension age is the result of changes designed to increase the state pension age of women from 60 to 65, bringing them in line with men.
The plan was to phase in that change between 2010 and 2020. However, in 2010 the timetable was accelerated with the new qualifying age of 65 for women bought forward to 2018, before being raised again to 66 by October 2020.
As a result those women born in the early 1950s who were getting closer to their state pension age, were made to wait almost an extra five years longer to claim their state pension.