THE price of peak-time bus travel for disabled people could be set to double.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is proposing to change its concessionary disabled travel card scheme. Currently, people who have a Disabled NoWCard pay a flat fare of 50p to travel on weekday bus journeys before 9.30am. The council is consulting on a proposal to raise this to £1.

The 50p fare was introduced in April 2008. The increase, if adopted, would bring the borough into line with the county council. Disabled NoWCard holders would continue to receive free travel between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays as part of the national concessionary travel scheme.

Cllr Phil Riley, executive member for regeneration, said: “We are committed to providing the best services we can for people in Blackburn and Darwen, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities. That’s why we offer extra concessions to disabled NoWcard holders to allow them to travel outside the times of the national scheme.

“Unfortunately, we are facing unprecedented financial challenges due to continued funding cuts by the Government, rising costs and a rising demand for the services we provide.

“These challenges will continue so we need to make some difficult decisions to ensure that the council is in a long-term position to continue to offer these services.

"The proposed £1 charge for peak morning travel before 9.30am is still good value for money and I stress that it is only a proposal at this stage. I would therefore urge people to take part in the consultation.”

Alan Dean, from Blackburn Shopmobility, said although an extra 50p did not sound like a steep hike in fees, it could have a significant impact on people.

Mr Dean said: “A lot of disabled people rely on benefits and if you’re on a fixed benefit you have to count every penny.

"It is a lot of money for some people and it could add up over the course of a week if people use it every day.

He added the proposal could affect some of the poorest people in the borough and urged the public to voice their opinion before the consultation ends on August 17.

To take part, go to Completed questionnaires can be sent to The Transport Team, Old Town Hall, King William Street, Blackburn, BB1 7DY.

Concessionary travel for disabled and over-60s bus users is provided by NoWCard, set up jointly by Cumbria and Lancashire County Councils, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool borough councils in conjunction with the district councils of Lancashire and Cumbria and bus operators.

Bus operators are paid for carrying NoW card pass holders based on the cost of the journey made. Any fraudulent use may result in the pass being confiscated by the bus operator or authorised officer of NoW card or local authority.

You are eligible for a NoW card concessionary travel pass if your sole or principal residence is in Lancashire and you are blind or partially sighted, are profoundly or severely deaf or are without speech

People with a long term disability or injury which seriously impairs the ability to walk, without the long term use of both arms, with a significant degree of learning disability or those who would be refused a driving licence on physical fitness grounds are also eligible.