Changes to pensioner free bus travel

  TopCat® 16:48 28 Mar 2009

Quote: 'Millions of pensioners may no longer be able to use their bus pass for free off-peak national travel in England.

About 11 million people use the free pass which, from 1 April, will no longer be valid on routes where more than half the seats can be booked.' click here

We have the national bus pass but have yet to use it anywhere, including on local services, but this is the first I've heard of any changes pending. TC.

  BT 17:01 28 Mar 2009

Our Local council are changing the start time in the morning from 8.30 to 9.30, although I believe its already 9.30 in many places. We will however be able to use it on the Park and Ride for free which we couldn't do before.

  Bapou 17:16 28 Mar 2009

The story seems a little premature. The demise of local district councils is not effective until April lst when county councils will take control.

As yet there has been no hint of our Northumberland CC bringing in new rules for free pensioner travel. I certainly would not be suprised if this was on the agenda though.

The mention of National Express Services is a surprise. From our area, a journey from, say, Newcastle to London is not free as far as I am aware.

  TopCat® 17:47 28 Mar 2009

after a DFT 'full public consultation' was opened in October last year. The resulting government response takes affect from 1st April and their decisions can be seen in this pdf file. TC. click here

  TopCat® 17:49 28 Mar 2009

effect, of course! TC.

  sunnystaines 20:19 28 Mar 2009

english ones not accepted in Ayrshire

  oresome 20:35 28 Mar 2009

I've used my bus pass once.

As proof of identity at the bank.

  spuds 20:42 28 Mar 2009

Isn't it remarkable how bad intentions become good, then soon return to bad and further confusion.

When the latest version of 'free' bus passes came into being in April 2008, it was clearly stated by the Government that "more than adequate funding for England was being provided over a three year span". Within the first year, a number of council's have stated that they had run out of funds for the first year, and that finance from local taxes and other revenue was required to make up the shortfall. The government have stated this should not be necessary.

Places that have heavy summer public support, and perhaps lower winter support, have complained that their scales have not tipped in the right direction with funding. But again, the government suppose to have taken into consideration the highs would subsidies the low peaks and even themselves out of a yearly time plan.

With regards to travel restrictions, it was first thought that the English bus pass scheme would provide free bus travel countrywide. But this as never been the case, because companies like National Express have no facilities or actual approval to allow this. National Express Route 60 discount card or their regular £1.00 plus 50p booking fee special journey country-wide promotions will help subsides 'extended' travel over county borders. And in a sense the spokeswoman for the Department of Transport is possible correct in stating that the 'concessionary travel funded by HM Government with your local council' bus pass "was always intended in use on local bus services". Mr Brown seemed to have other ideas and notions about this, when he was asked a question just before Christmas 2008.

A team of people undertook a travel arrangement across England (top most point to bottom most point), using the requirements of the scheme in conjunction with the various bus companies. The journey, allowing for time schedules, restrictions,pick up points and inter boundary cover took 6 days to complete.

Perhaps 'free' travel was the original intentions of the government for the people who was entitled to this reward!.

Then we have the usual 'consultation' program which in all events should allow a far larger input from the public, especially the pensioners and 'free' bus pass holders, which it did not. This action in itself could not be a true consultation for the public on the whole, and the arrangers of this consultation probably knew that. It is well worth reading the Consultation Response Document provide in the link above.

  Stuartli 00:43 29 Mar 2009

Perhaps people should come and live in Merseyside, where free travel for women 60 and over and men 65 and over (60 from 2002) has been available on the buses, trains and ferries for at least 15 years or more.

You can travel from the very north of Merseyside right through to Chester if you wish and the concession includes the mainline railway services as far as South Parkway and Widnes and eastwards to the St Helens area.

At one time you couldn't travel between 6-30am and 9-30am and 4-30pm to 6pm for obvious reasons, but the latter time span was dropped some years ago.

Even more important is that Merseyside transport services generally run to time, especially the electric trains due to the tight timings for each route at Liverpool Central.

It's worth a look at the train network coverage:

click here

  birdface 10:31 29 Mar 2009

Just had a letter delivered last week informing us that it is costing the council to much to run and the service that we will no longer be able to use the free bus pass before 9.30am.
My son says why don't they get rid of the free bus passes for pensioners and make them walk as it will make them fitter.
I suppose with the majority this would be true but others need this service to get from A-B for different medical reasons.
It did tell you on the letter how much it cost the council a year to pay for the service,it was a staggering amount but unfortunately it is in the bin now so can't quote the exact price.

I always thought that it was the Government that paid it and not the ratepayers.

  Stuartli 11:04 29 Mar 2009

>>I always thought that it was the Government that paid it and not the ratepayers.>>

No doubt the intention was that you would think that it was New L's idea all along...:-)

The government does make a contribution towards the cost to councils but, if the travel take up is higher than anticipated, then the council has to pick up the tab.

For instance see:

click here

In either case, government or council, it's taxpayers' money that's involved...

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