Mahinur Ozdemir Goktas, the Minister of Family and Social Services, has recently addressed concerns regarding the alleged implementation of transportation fees for individuals over the age of 65.
These concerns have been raised by elderly commuters and public transport associations in various cities, who have expressed their grievances regarding the potential financial burden that such charges may impose on senior citizens.
No intention to charge senior citizens for public transport
To clarify the situation, Goktas has stated that there is no intention to impose any charges on public transport in Turkey for senior citizens. She has emphasised that the government has allocated a substantial amount of TL 1.7 billion (approximately $62 million) to compensate the operators of public-private bus and sea transport services. This allocation aims to enable disabled and elderly citizens access to public transport without any financial burden.
Reassurance for elderly commuters and general public
The Minister's statement provides reassurance to elderly commuters and the wider public that the government is committed to ensuring that senior citizens are not financially burdened when accessing public transport services.
This commitment is reflected in the significant allocation of funds to compensate transport operators and facilitate the accessibility of public transport for disabled and elderly citizens.
Dedication to social welfare shown through decision
By addressing concerns and providing clarity on the matter, Goktas has demonstrated her dedication to promoting social welfare and ensuring fair access to essential services for all citizens.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to offer unwavering support to our disabled and elderly citizens, ensuring their unfettered access to free urban public transport,” Goktas asserted.
Free travel for over 65s and people with disabilities
Individuals who have reached the age of 65 and above, and those who have reported disabilities with a rate of 40% or higher, are eligible for free travel within urban public transport networks. The current policy ensures that senior citizens and disabled individuals can access public buses and sea transport services without any cost.
Increasing supports for buses and sea transportation
Goktas, the policymaker, has recently announced a significant improvement in the monthly income support provided to private operators of public buses and sea transport services. This support will cater to the transportation needs of elderly and disabled passengers. Starting from July 1, 2023, there will be a generous 50% increase in this support, which is a great achievement for the community.
"The per-vehicle payment for private sea transport providers offering urban public transport has been raised to TL 3,375. Moreover, the support for each urban transport vehicle in Ankara and Istanbul now stands at TL 4,500. Similar increments apply to other metropolitan regions, with a support figure of TL 3,375, and a revised TL 2,700 for urban public transport vehicles in non-metropolitan provinces," she said.
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