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Free bus passes

Postby tightwadswife » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:17 am

I catch the bus occasionally and I've noticed that often I'm the only paying passenger. The majority of other passengers are bus pass holders.
A leading 'think tank' have recently suggested that the Government should consider withdrawing free bus travel from our over 60's in an effort to slash costs, leading to a saving of one billion pounds a year.
Wouldn't this mean that the bus companies also lose one billion pounds a year? :?
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby Caz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:25 pm

Well, if they withdraw the free bus passes, you'd be the ONLY person on the bus and we'd have a lot of bored pensioners! The bus would still run, so what's a few extra non paying pensioners between bus companies? I'm not sure who'd be saving one billion pounds by stopping them. I daresay it costs the government to issue the passes, but they recently changed to credit card type passes that don't need replacing every year, so that should already be saving money.
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby tightwadswife » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:40 pm

I'm not 100% certain how it works Caz.
I was presuming that either local or central Govt pay the bus companies for the cost of the tickets issued to pass holders.
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby Caz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:09 pm

I'm not sure how it works either, but the credit card type pass will reduce production costs, which I do know is paid for by local government as we used to send the Nottinghamshire ones out from the Town Hall.
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby ELMER FUDD » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:16 am

Instead of getting rid of bus passes for old goats such as I it would be more sensible for the government to stop giving money away to rich countries such as China, India and some of the petty dictators in parts of Africa. They could also treat illegal immigrants as they treat pensioners, give them just enough to exist That would save a bob or two.

There is another side to the coin though - abuse of the bus pass. There are those who ride around on buses every day for no other reason but that it is free. They are the ones who will spoil it for everybody through their sheer greed. If Warsop is typical of the rest of the country there must be millions of pounds wasted.
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby tightwadswife » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:18 am

When I catch the bus, no matter which day, the same folk hop on flashing their passes. Some of them pick up 2 or 3 copies of the Metro newspaper aswell. (I wonder if they're getting one for the neighbours.) I suppose there are abusers Elmer but maybe they're balanced out by those who never use their pass as they still have use of a car. I know they've already stopped the National Express scheme which allowed cheap fares to pensioners so I hope they don't consider withdrawing the free bus travel aswell.
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby Caz » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:15 pm

I don't really think you can call them abusers of the system. It doesen't matter how many time a bus pass is used if it's being used on buses that are running anyway because it's costing nothing for them to be passengers. Surely it's better to have somebody in a seat than nobody, at least it's serving a purpose and keeping the pass holder happy.

I'm pretty sure bus pass use isn't monitored per journey, nor are the bus companies paid by how many bus pass passengers they take. I'd think they're paid a set fee on an annual basis to be part of the scheme. By all means tell me if I'm wrong!
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby tightwadswife » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:19 am

I did a bit of checking on this. First of all the age at which you can qualify for a pass is set to change. It's to be linked to women's retirement age (for men too) - which is also set to change in gradual stages. After a bit of fevered calculating I reckon I'll be 62 and a bit before I get mine. :o
There is monitoring of use by bus companies - most ticket machines have a card reader - which is why you have to state your destination to be issued with a ticket.
Bus companies are reimbursed by local authorities for revenue lost by allowing the elderly to travel for free. The local authority has to apply to the Dept of Transport for the money and then the D o T estimate how much they're actally going to give to the local authority. Any shortfall is made up from our council tax. Phew! :shock:
Another way of looking at it is that the billion pounds is a Government subsidy paid to the bus companies. In return, the bus companies allow the elderly to fill the empty seats and travel off peak for free. Without this subsidy would we get a reduced service and higher fares?
No such thing as a free ride then. :roll:
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby BigAl » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:28 am

Reducing the amount of busses would be a good thing for the enviroment :D I cant remember the last time i saw a bus that wasn't kicking out smelly crap fro its exhaust, and i used to drive them :) :) .

Why should pensioners have to pay for travle on either the busses or the rail network, have they not spent their working life paying into the system :?:

Needs to be more controlled though and passes issued to the people who have paid into the system and not the scroungers on society
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby Wizard » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:10 am

tightwadswife wrote:I did a bit of checking on this. First of all the age at which you can qualify for a pass is set to change. It's to be linked to women's retirement age (for men too) - which is also set to change in gradual stages. After a bit of fevered calculating I reckon I'll be 62 and a bit before I get mine. :o
There is monitoring of use by bus companies - most ticket machines have a card reader - which is why you have to state your destination to be issued with a ticket.
Bus companies are reimbursed by local authorities for revenue lost by allowing the elderly to travel for free. The local authority has to apply to the Dept of Transport for the money and then the D o T estimate how much they're actally going to give to the local authority. Any shortfall is made up from our council tax. Phew! :shock:
Another way of looking at it is that the billion pounds is a Government subsidy paid to the bus companies. In return, the bus companies allow the elderly to fill the empty seats and travel off peak for free. Without this subsidy would we get a reduced service and higher fares?
No such thing as a free ride then. :roll:


Look on the bright side TWW.
You don't have too long to wait :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Only joking !! :D
I bet you have only just started paying full fare on the bus, you look so young :D :D
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby tightwadswife » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:02 pm

Aaw, Wizard. You say the nicest things. :x
:lol:
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby ELMER FUDD » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:47 pm

Sorry Caz but it is abuse to ride around on buses every day because the cost comes back to the taxpayer in the end. Whatever about filling seats Fat Fanny and her husband Obese Olly cause the bus to use more fuel for starters as it ferries them around the county on their jollies. When the day of reckoning comes for their selfish behaviour it will surely result in all passes being withdrawn.
It reminds me of the abuse when the NHS first started, half the nation were running around in new specs and false teeth just because they were free. It wasn't long before a stop had to be put to it. I can see the same thing happening to bus passes.
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Re: Free bus passes

Postby Digger » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:32 pm

I could have answered the questions but TWW beat me to it. Before I retired 2 years ago, I managed the contract for one of the suppliers issuing these passes. We handled them for about 50% of the councils/transport execs across England and issued over 3.5m passes. TWW is right, the bus companies should be clocking the journeys and claiming the fares back. However, in the early days (April 2008 when the scheme was introduced) very few bus Co's issued tickets when the pass was shown, or had card readers on their vehicles. How they recovered their monies is anyones guess!

If you visit another area, your fare is supposed to be claimed back by the bus Co/council from your own authority. Blackpool fitted card readers from day 1 on their buses/trams as they get such a high number of OAP visitors. They wanted to ensure that they recovered the costs across the rest of the country, not from Blackpool BC!

Dependanty upon your authority some get extra benefits. For example, here in Manchester our tickets are issued by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, made up of around 9 local councils such as Stockport, Bury, Rochdale, etc. Therefore our tickets can be used on trains, buses and trams right across the area. However when we visit other cities we only get bus travel.

We won the contract to provide the same tickets for the 34 London Councils and I implimented it just before I finished. That consortium were given 2 years grace to impliment the scheme partly because their tickets were to be issued as Oyster cards to cover the underground network. The estimated worth of travel to a user in London was £2k pa, making it £10k across the 5 year span of the card. They put strict security in place to ensure cards were only issued to those who were entitled to them.
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