Funding boost for free fares scheme

Monday, October 1, 2007

City region transport authorities today welcomed the news that the Government is to provide them with a special grant to cover the cost of the go-anywhere, free off-peak bus travel scheme for older and disabled people, which starts next April.

Chair of pteg, Roy Wicks said:

‘From April 2008 older and disabled people will be able to travel free on any off-peak bus service, anywhere in England. This is bound to prove an extremely popular scheme and will open up new opportunities for older and disabled people, bringing real social inclusion benefits.’

‘For every journey which is made using the new national pass, bus operators need to be compensated by the PTE or local authority where that journey was made. We are delighted therefore that the Government has listened to our argument that in our areas Government grant for this scheme should be routed via a special grant to the PTEs, rather than be subsumed within the overall funding stream for local authorities. This will help ensure that the funding follows the passenger and that there is less chance that PTEs will find themselves out of pocket as a result of the free fares scheme.’

‘Today’s news helps enormously in the complex task of the efficient and cost effective delivery of a scheme which benefits as many as 11 million people. The next step will be to ensure that the formula used to determine the special grants for the scheme will reflect the cost of the scheme for each PTE. We also want to see the national pass become a fully operational Smartcard as soon as is practicable.’

Ends

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 07960 117 435