by Cllr Darren Fower on 23 May, 2017
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme is a national scheme by the Department for Transport in conjunction with Local Authorities.
It came into affect on 1st April 2008.
Those residents who are able to apply include residents who have attained the state pension age, as well as eligible disabled people, are provided with free off-peak bus travel on weekdays and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Local authorities are also able to use local funds to provide additional benefits or discretionary benefits for those eligible for the statutory scheme such as free travel before 09:30 or allowing a concession to companions or helper.
At present the Tories at the Town Hall, have decided NOT to allow free travel before 9.30am.
At a recent meeting of Full Council, reaffirmed their position of preventing from using the service before 9.30am on weekdays.
They claimed, “If the Council were to allow Concessionary Fare Bus Pass holders to travel on services before this time it is estimated there would be considerable, unbudgeted costs, for both the officer time required to develop the scheme, initial set-up and then ongoing carriage of eligible passengers.”
A couple of years ago the Council over estimated the costs associated with this service to the tune of a couple of hundred thousand pounds, which eventually helped us reintroduce one of the local link bus services.
Neighbouring Fenland District Council do offer extras that can make a real difference to someone who relies on bus travel.
I think if the City Council are really determined to reduce the number of cars on our local roads, then at least, trialling FREE bus use for pensioners at anytime of the day, should be seriously considered?