Monday, 5 January 2009

Concessionary Bus Passes cripples Council

The National Concessionary Travel Scheme, is now costing Malvern Hills District Council in excess of £400,000 per year, of which only £100,000 is recoverable from Central Government.

Whilst the National Concessionary Travel Scheme has been an overwhelming success with journeys travelled in the Malvern Hills area up from 182,000 in 2006-07 to 440,000 in 2007-8, the cost of paying for this increase is crippling Council Finances.

Payment for the scheme has to be met either by increased Council Tax Charges or budget reductions in other areas.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's even worse than this. Some buses are full of bus-pas holders, so some commuters have been unable to get on. So next time they travel by car! We have already seen a bigger but introduced on the Kiddy-Tenbury route due to the previous (conveniently small) bus getting full, so people were being left at stops. Now we see Yarrantons testing what looks like the world's longest bus, with room for over 100, which will simply make the situation worse over the bridge and round the bend by the Crow and past the Market. Why not scrap the bus pass for pensioners and increase the pension to a sensible level so they can, if they prefer, travel by car to Ludlow? There are now no buses from Tenbury to Ludlow, which contributes to the problems over the Kiddy and Worcester buses, as people wanting to use a bus pas are forced to head east, on a much longer journey, rather than some go to Ludlow and others go to Kiddy and Worcester. Not to mention Ludlow being the nearest train station.

Anonymous said...

Its not strictly true that there is no Tenbury-Ludlow bus. It is now a ring and ride service. You must phone more than 24 hours before you need to travel to find whether a bus will be available.
You could always wait till a Friday and get the one day a week bus to Leominster and get a train or bus to Ludlow.I'm sorry but I'll still use the car to get to Ludlow .If I had to rely on public transport I wouldn't have a job !

Anonymous said...

The free travel scheme is funded by the Department of Transport. The funding this year is £589 million for the 'free' transport, plus £31 million to cover the bus passes. Given that only a few million people make any extensive use of this 'free' bus travel, each 'active' bus-pass user costs tax payers around £200 a year.

Anonymous said...

According to Shropshire County Council the Shropshire Link bus does not serve Tenbury, the nearest it comes is Burford.

@WR15 said...

The free travel scheme is "Part" funded by the DOT. For Malvern the part is 25%.

Anonymous said...

If 'free bus travel' costs the DoT £200 per active bus pass user per year, and if the DoT is only paying 25% of the cost, it follows that the average active bus pass user has £800 worth of 'free' trips each year? This seems unlikely - £16 a week is an awful lot of bus travel, particularly as must users live in towns/cities where trips tend to be quite short

@WR15 said...

The Government paid a grant of £31 million to local authorities in 2007-08 to cover the (reasonable) new cost burdens which resulted from a need to issue new passes.

@WR15 said...

Worcester City Council claim that Malvern Council are making a profit from the scheme whereas they are £2 million out of pocket.

Malvern claim it is costing them £400K to fund 440,000 journeys.

What ever the truth, if you live in Tenbury and have and use a pass then you are onto a good deal. With a trip to Worcester valued at £5.40 return, then a qualifing couple travelling once a week get back £561.60 in benefit when the amount they are a probably paying MHDC in Council tax is £125.

Anonymous said...

So MHDC says the scheme is costing them £400,000 a year, of which they only get £100,000 back, but Worcester council says MHDC makes a profit from the scheme. They can't both be right!

Anonymous said...

MHDC claims that the concessionary bus pass scheme costs it £300,000 (net of the government grant of £100,000). Presumably, most of the £300,000 is spent in compensating the bus companies who carry the holders of concessionary bus passes. But how does MHDC know how much the bus companies should be paid? No record is kept, for example, of the number of pass-holders getting on the Tenbury bus, nor of their destination. Is the payment to the bus companies based on guestimates? Are the guestimates made by the bus companies? I work for central government and am paid travelling and subsistence expenses. These expense claims have to be substantiated by proper, detailed, records. Are the bus companies being treated differently by MHDC? I think the answer must be ‘yes’. In which case there is the possibility of substantial fraud at the expense of council tax payers.

Bus Driver said...

The drivers writes down details of trips by bus-pas users, then the bus company bills the Council for the trips.

Anonymous said...

The "bus drivers" comments (well, he would say that wouldn't he!) are complete nonsense as anyone who has travelled on the Tenbury-Worcester bus will know. I have NEVER been asked my destination nor do I believe that my presence on the bus has ever been recorded in any way whatsoever.

Bus Driver said...

The County Council said about a year ago that they would be responsibile for the costs in the near future.