A SCHEME doubling the number of free taxi rides for eligible pensioners and disabled people has been rejected despite its zero cost to Bromley Council.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has offered to increase the number of free trips under the Taxi Card scheme from 50 to 104 each year.

But Bromley is likely to be the only borough in London not to take up Livingstone's offer.

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Tory councillor Carole Hubbard, who represents the West Wickham North ward, said: “The Taxi Card scheme has run for many years in Bromley and will continue to do so.”

She added: “Ken Livingstone has offered to give us extra money to give people extra trips each year.

“We have declined because he only promised to fund it until 2003.

“He promised us £202,000 but we felt the money would not be forthcoming after that.”

But Lib Dem Chief Chris Maines was furious the council was not taking Livingstone up on his offer.

He said: “There is no logical reason for this free scheme to be rejected out of hand.

“Many of the users are people imprisoned in their own homes.

“The scheme provides a wonderful opportunity for them to mix with friends and enjoy occasions denied to the housebound.”