CTA Concessionary Travel Campaign

Introduction

The CTA believes that every member of the public is entitled to equality of access and that concessionary travel is an increasingly important mechanism that can be used in the pursuit of this aim.  It is imperative that concessionary travel schemes do not discriminate against any of the intended beneficiaries, and the CTA believes that central government policy should explicitly reflect this.  Concessionary travel scheme administrators must ensure that such a policy is implemented effectively and that every eligible passenger has access to the same level of service.  

CTA's Position

CTA's Policy Statement No. 1.1 (2011)

England

Paul Maynard, Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys addressed the House of Commons on the 18 October 2011 and put  forward a 10 Minute Rule Bill for concessionary travel for disabled, disadvantaged & elderly people. 

Watch Paul Maynard deliver his 10 Minute Rule Bill - Concessionary Travel (youtube video) or read the transcript of his submission made to the House of Commons on the 18 October 2011.

Scotland

The Scotland-wide concessionary fare scheme allows free travel on registered bus services for people who are 60 and over and disabled people.  The majority of Scottish community transport services operate under a Section 19 permit which means they are not registered services and therefore are currently not eligible for concessionary fares.  However, Section 22 services are eligible and currently over 20 community transport operators in Scotland are participating in the scheme as a result.  In addition to lobbying the Scottish Government to include Section 19 services in the scheme, CTA is also pressing for a 100% fare reimbursement rate for community transport services, as opposed to the current cap of 67% for mainstream services.

Wales

The Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative (CTCFI) 

  • CTCFI was set up to ensure equality, following evidence that many people were unable to use their bus pass (introduced across Wales in 2000) on conventional public transport due to age and/or disability.
  • CTCFI was set up in 2005-6 as a three year pilot to test different models of concessionary fares on 15 CT schemes, and CTA Wales has been managing the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government since its inception. 
  • An external evaluation of the scheme was completed for the Welsh Government in December 2009, and recommended the roll-out of the scheme. 
  • Since then, despite the scheme being extended year on year, seemingly no work has been done on taking forward the evaluation’s recommendations. Welsh Government officials have told CTA Wales recently that the scheme will come to an end on 31 March 2012. 
  • CTCFI will have undertaken c1.3 million vital passenger journeys by then, taking elderly, severely disabled and vulnerable people to a range of services, which they would not otherwise have been able to access. Quantitative and qualitative evidence demonstrates clearly the beneficial impact of the scheme on users’ lives. 
  • We estimate that around £3.9m is needed in 2012-13 to bring CTCFI in as part of the all-Wales concessionary fares programme on a separate fares basis. Of this, a small percentage would be transition funding to some of the 15 original schemes who could well be facing closure at the end of March, leading to some job losses and loss of valuable volunteer commitment. 
  • CTCFI was set up initially to ensure equality of access to elderly and disabled people. Since Wales’ population is increasingly ageing, and since we have a slightly higher rate of disability and disadvantage, it is evident that the need for this service can only grow. Cutting CTCFI will not solve the issue of equality, which the Welsh Government has a statutory duty to promote, and will have a disproportionate effect on our most vulnerable citizens. 
  • Following approaches by cross-party AM’s on this issue, early responses indicate that the Minister has no plans to revoke the decision, due to public spending constraints. However, this rationale does not seem to apply to the all-Wales concessionary fares initiative which is a manifesto commitment.

Northern Ireland

Reimbursement under the concessionary travel scheme in NI is restricted to journeys by eligible passengers (SmartPass holders) on services run by the public transport provider Translink (public transport is not deregulated in Northern Ireland).  The CTA, the community transport sector and the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC) have lobbied for many years to allow people to make use of their SmartPass on alternative modes of transport such as community transport

The network of rural transport partnerships funded by the Department for Regional Development (DRD) are currently providing concessionary travel through a pilot scheme funded by the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) for people living in rural areas.  The pilot is due to complete by March 2012, however, it is expected it will be extended until March 2013.

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