24th June 2014 From West Yorkshire CBT’s Ray Wilkes’ blog:
“The main threat to bus services, as I see it, is the inadequacy of concessionary re-imbursement. When free fares were introduced, the deal was that bus companies ‘should be no better off and no worse off’. Yet it is clear that many bus companies are worse off, especially in rural areas. Routes which used to be commercial are being withdrawn because pensioners are travelling free and the local authority isn’t paying enough.
The original deal was wrong. Obviously if the government is making a mass purchase of bus journeys for pensioners there should be discount for bulk. However, it is wholly wrong that the bus companies should not benefit from providing this service for society. Rather than being simply ‘no worse off or no worse off’, they should be better off because free rides for pensioners bring enormous social benefits. People get out and socialise more and this improves their mental and physical health. Because many are leaving their cars at home everyone benefits from reduced congestion and air pollution. … We need bus users to press politicians to change the system so that the payments are more generous.” continues