Changes to the Concessionary Fares Scheme for Older Person Pass Holders

Closes 19 Dec 2018

Opened 16 Nov 2018

Overview

Like all local authorities, Reading Borough Council faces significant financial pressures with reduced funding from central government and increasing demand on its services. These pressures are predicted to increase in the future and the Council needs to make savings to ensure it is able to continue to provide the services it is required by law to deliver to its residents.

To help us make informed decisions, the Council has agreed to consult on possible changes to the Concessionary Fares bus pass scheme in Reading. 

Why We Are Consulting

Since 2001 a mandatory national bus concession for older and disabled people in England has been in place providing free travel on local bus services. Over the years the scheme was gradually extended and from April 2008 the England National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) provided free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England to eligible older and disabled people from 9.30am to 11:00pm on any weekday and at any time on weekends and bank holidays.

In addition to the national scheme, Travel Concession Authorities, which includes Reading Borough Council, are able to offer concessionary travel outside the hours of the ENCTS national scheme on a discretionary basis. This has enabled Reading Borough Council to provide a more generous scheme with additional discretionary elements including free travel at anytime for disabled (Access) pass holders; providing companion bus passes for eligible Access pass holders; and free travel for eligible Older Person and Access pass holders on the ReadiBus dial-a-ride services.

In April 2017 the Older Persons Pass reverted to the national ENCTS times operating after 9:30am and before 11:00pm Monday to Friday and anytime Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday but retained the free use of the Older Persons bus pass on ReadiBus at all times. These changes were followed by a further consultation this year on changes to discretionary elements of the Access Pass for Disabled Residents, which included reverting to the national ENCTS and ending free use of the ReadiBus service. The Council is now consulting on the proposal to align both the Older Persons Pass and Access Pass for Disabled People by ending free use of the ReadiBus service for Older Person Pass holders. A final decision on the proposed changes to both schemes will be made later this year.

The consultation will run until Wednesday 19th December 2018. We will take full account of all the feedback received through this consultation before any recommendations are made to the Council’s Policy Committee. Any changes the Council decides to make would not come into effect until 1st April 2019. 

We would like to emphasise that a decision has not been made at this stage and we will consider all responses and representations to the consultation, assessing these against the Council’s financial situation.

We welcome your feedback in the online survey below. 
 

 

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