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September 26, 2013

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Free scheme for seniors to be widened

The Shanghai government is considering a proposal to modify free public transport services for senior citizens in the city.

Currently, people who are 70 years old or older can travel for free on the public transport, except during peak hours. But that may change a bit.

The Shanghai People’s Congress is pushing for an amendment to the law that protects the elderly’s rights. The Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau has come up with proposals drawn from suggestions made by deputies to various departments and traffic bodies.

Among the changes being considered is a suggestion that non-local senior citizens be included in the free public transport scheme as well.

It is also being mooted that people between the ages of 65 and 70 pay 50 percent of the fare; and do away completely with the ban on free travel during peak rush hours.

Shanghai started offering free use of public transport for the elderly in 2007, except in the morning between 7am and 9am and between 5pm and 7pm during working days.

Though the national law stipulates that people aged 60 and above should fall in the senior citizen bracket, local governments have been given the right to offer favorable treatment to its seniors based on local conditions.

Some government departments and citizens are not keen to expand the scope of free public transport service, given the city’s population size, infrastructure and the large number of the elderly population.

Shanghai has approximately 3.67 million registered population who are 60 or older till late last year. That makes for one quarter of the local registered population. Among them, nearly 2 million people are in the 60-70 age bracket.



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