Bus Passes - Free travel

  pj123 18:23 30 Mar 2006

I have had a Bus Pass which entitles me to half price bus travel for some time now.

From April 1st 2006 it is now free travel, but only, it seems within a particular area.

I thought that as this was a government initiative it would be national. After all I am over 60 in Norfolk which allows me free travel but if I go to Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire etc.. although I am still over 60 in those county's I can't travel for free?

Is it National or not?

  Monoux 18:29 30 Mar 2006
  BRYNIT 18:56 30 Mar 2006

The way I was inform a few years ago when this subject was asked was that local Authority subsides the bus passes and have to pay the bus companies every time the bus pass is used. If it was allowed for people to use the free bus pass in other areas it would be difficult for the bus companies to collect the money due.

  sunny staines 19:11 30 Mar 2006

comes in in 2008 but not peak times.

  jack 20:03 30 Mar 2006

Hitherto I have not applied for a bus pass as I drive here there and everywhere-except on walking expeditions.
However with the event of free travel after 1/4 I applied. It is a county wide scheme to the extent the journey must begin or end in the county [Kent]
So in theory I could go to the Sussex/Essex coast for free but starting after 9am and restricted to local buses only[not long distance coaches] I may get free travel but find myself forking out for B&B some place. A bonus is that starting this week the Thames side regeneration transport service 'Fastrack'
a dedicated bus route with satellite controlled buses and stops with information points and free E-mail available came into being.
The nearest stop is but 2 minutes walk away into town or to Bluewater and the next town. I shall avail my self of the me thinks come Saturday.

  ezypcy 20:48 30 Mar 2006

As more and more people and being forced to work until they are 65 then surely the minimum age requirement,for a bus pass, should be raised to 65!Fair or not?
Keep folk mobile and agile.(Just ask the head of the CBI!!)

  jakimo 20:56 30 Mar 2006

Free train and metro travel is included in the west midland

  Bapou 21:14 30 Mar 2006

We can travel within the local District Council's area for free. Board a bus to travel outside of the area, i.e. Newcastle, it's £1 return, previously this journey cost half fare, £2.l5 to pensioners.

Parking the car in Newcastle for 3 or 4 hours would set me back a heck of a lot more than £1.

Originally I think our Deputy PM's plan was Nationwide free travel. Then someone must have whispered in his ear about the cost.

  spuds 23:51 30 Mar 2006

The government as given local major council's certain funding for this scheme, and it is for the local council's to decide how they will implement the scheme in their areas.This will be usually based on city limits or county border lines or perhaps more. Things will change again in 2008, when a 'national' scheme may come into consideration (plenty of budgets before then).

One thing that I noticed in the Treasury statement, and appears to have been omitted. Bank holiday travel, will be classed as weekend travel, so bank holidays will be free as well.

Having checked with my local council, I find that I like many other people could be in a catch 22 situation. My home is located in an area covered by six bus service routes. Due to the close proximity of the city/county border line, I will have to be selective on which buses I use on outward bound journeys. One bus travels approximately one and a half miles over the border line, and this will still classed as free travel for me. Using any of the other five buses, will result in having to pay half normal fare at least, because those buses go a far greater distance over the city/county border line, and will come under a concessionary fares rule.

Best to check with your bus pass provider, as to how they are implementing their schemes.Some council's will be more generous than others.

  LastChip 01:05 31 Mar 2006

You're not far from the truth.

As with many government initiatives, they have grossly underestimated the cost of providing this service.

People think of buses as a "public service", but that's only partly true. All (as far as I know) bus companies now are private or public companies who's primary interest is profit. If you (effectively) reduce the amount of income they receive, they will look at ways of cutting costs and one of those ways is to cut services that have a marginal turnover and hence maybe unprofitable.

There is no doubt, as with all major schemes, there will be teething problems, but I'm not convinced you will not see a major restructuring of this initiative in the years to come. You have to remember we have an accelerating demographic path, that says our older (non-working?) population will outnumber those providing the country's wealth. That is in basic terms what the pension crisis is all about.

If it were still a Nationalised Industry, the problem wouldn't arise, as by definition, the tax payer would be footing the bill. However, many will remember that the Nationalised Industry's record for management was abysmal and so the full circle turns!

  €dstowe 05:42 31 Mar 2006

Isn't this cost aspect something of a red herring?

If the bus is making the journey then it costs almost the same to run the service whether full or empty. Yes, there are theoretical aspects that the bus costs more to run with passengers than without but, in practice, this is very small indeed.

So, if there's room on the bus, why can't a pensioner of other (possibly) disadvantaged person use the available space?

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