Proposals to extend elderly card benefits to people between 60 and 65 have been shelved because of the economic downturn. Elderly Commission chairman Tam Yiu-chung said 88 per cent of public transport operators participating in the scheme had reservations about extending the discounts. 'Since travel discount is the most popular item among various benefits, objections from the transport companies mean the plan would meet resistance,' he said. He said the findings were obtained in a consultancy report, compiled by the commission. 'If the scheme is pushed forward, it might lead to withdrawal of some companies,' Mr Tam said. Elderly welfare concern groups were upset by the decision. Iman Fok Tim-man, community organiser of the Society for Community Organisation, said many people aged between 60 and 65 had retired and needed the card's benefits. Stanley Yeung Kin-wai, principal social worker of the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, said people who could not afford to travel could not see their friends and relatives on a regular basis. 'We understand the private companies have to survive, but we wish they could also consider contributing to society,' Mr Yeung said. The KCRC said that if the proposal was implemented, revenue would not cover expenses. It would be unfair to other passengers who would have to pay for the loss caused by extension of the scheme. People aged 65 or above can apply for the card, which gives them benefits, such as discounts at some restaurants and clinics. More than 700,000 people are entitled to receive the card and 590,000 have been issued. There are more than 200,000 people aged between 60 and 65.