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Old 10th February 2017, 04:17   #1
philthetube
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Default Is Pensioner free travel forcing up prices?

Has free travel forced up single fares on buses?

Firms get paid a percentage of the fare when a pass is used, it seems to me that fares have increased recently by way above inflation and prices of other tickets.
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Old 10th February 2017, 04:26   #2
Paul Sidorczuk
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The so-called ENCTS "free travel" which you make mention of does not cover any of the journeys on Mondays to Fridays in the TfGM area prior to the 0930 peak-period time when the holders of these passes are liable to pay the full adult fare.
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Last edited by Paul Sidorczuk; 19th February 2017 at 20:18. Reason: Clarification of TfGM area
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Old 10th February 2017, 05:07   #3
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The so-called ENCTS "free travel" which you make mention of does not cover any of the journeys on Mondays to Fridays prior to the 0930 peak-period time when the holders of these passes are liable to pay the full adult fare.
Indeed but operators get a percentage of the full fare, say 50% for easy maths. If you put fares up by 20% you gain 10% increase in revenue from all ENTCS pass holders with no resistance to increases from this group.
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Old 10th February 2017, 05:28   #4
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Have you considered the fact that staff pay rises, fuel costs, etc, are other items to be considered in the scenario you posed.
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Old 10th February 2017, 06:49   #5
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Have you considered the fact that staff pay rises, fuel costs, etc, are other items to be considered in the scenario you posed.
yes,but single fares seem to be increasing in price way above inflation, wages, fuel and daily,weekly etc. tickets don't seem to be rising at the same rate.
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Old 10th February 2017, 07:58   #6
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Indeed but operators get a percentage of the full fare, say 50% for easy maths. If you put fares up by 20% you gain 10% increase in revenue from all ENTCS pass holders with no resistance to increases from this group.
that isnt always the case. it varies between council or lta but if the scheme is administrated properly the payment per journey can reduce if fares go up. this is because the dft publish a calculator spread sheet with very complicated formulas to calculate the payment to the operator. the mantra is always -no better or worse than if the scheme didnt exist- but that means that if the operator gets more cash from fare payers then the pensioner payment reduces.

having said all that not many councils bother to go throguh all the hassle of changing the calcs each time an operator changes fares.
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Old 10th February 2017, 08:17   #7
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In Greater Manchester (and possibly some other areas) the previously heavily subsidised child fares have risen very significantly since the introduction of ENCTS in order to cover the funding shortfall for the scheme.
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Old 10th February 2017, 08:55   #8
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The answer is yes - as regards pay-the-driver SINGLE fares.

And the reasoning is quite easy. The formula for calculating the ENCTS payment starts with the average adult single fare. The higher this is, therefore, the greater the subsidy. Thus bus companies have intentionally increased single fares so as to raise their subsidy. Slowly, inexorably, and knowingly. At the same time, prices of day passes and anything longer have not increased proportionately; they are the product that is priced competitively without other considerations, which in turn is why we see typical day pass prices barely more than a long-distance single.
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Old 10th February 2017, 10:03   #9
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Given that service buses run to timetables whether they are full or empty, it would be naiive to think that every ENCTS passenger would still travel and pay the full fare should the scheme be withdrawn. So their journeys would drastically reduce thereby cutting the operator's return for services after the morning peak. After a couple of years, many routes would be reduced to peak-only, not really helping those who have to pay their fares off-peak. Then in turn those passengers would make other arrangements.
Bus services at their current levels are to an extent dependent on the ENCTS scheme, so any political attempt to 'save money' or reduce the 'free perks' for pass holders would have unintended impacts.
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Old 10th February 2017, 10:04   #10
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Originally Posted by philthetube View Post
Has free travel forced up single fares on buses?

Firms get paid a percentage of the fare when a pass is used, it seems to me that fares have increased recently by way above inflation and prices of other tickets.
For prices to be "forced up" presumably there would need to be a link between additional price and additional cost. If we assume that the "free" travel would not have happened if it had not been free then it leads to a tiny additional fuel cost, maybe a slightly extended average stop time and possibly an increase in size of bus. As the so-called "free" travel isn't actually without revenue then I think the answer is a clear no, there is no direct link.

Conversely, withdrawal of subsidised fares which leads to loss of travel can lead to fare increases for others as costs are spread over fewer customers.
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Old 10th February 2017, 14:19   #11
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Originally Posted by Harpers Tate View Post
The answer is yes - as regards pay-the-driver SINGLE fares.

And the reasoning is quite easy. The formula for calculating the ENCTS payment starts with the average adult single fare. The higher this is, therefore, the greater the subsidy. Thus bus companies have intentionally increased single fares so as to raise their subsidy. Slowly, inexorably, and knowingly. At the same time, prices of day passes and anything longer have not increased proportionately; they are the product that is priced competitively without other considerations, which in turn is why we see typical day pass prices barely more than a long-distance single.
The operators do not receive a subsidy, the ENCTS holder is the person receiving the subsidy. The operators get an, ever reducing, percentage of the average single fare which means the reduced income has to come from somewhere else.
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Old 10th February 2017, 14:25   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpers Tate View Post
The answer is yes - as regards pay-the-driver SINGLE fares.

And the reasoning is quite easy. The formula for calculating the ENCTS payment starts with the average adult single fare. The higher this is, therefore, the greater the subsidy. Thus bus companies have intentionally increased single fares so as to raise their subsidy. Slowly, inexorably, and knowingly. At the same time, prices of day passes and anything longer have not increased proportionately; they are the product that is priced competitively without other considerations, which in turn is why we see typical day pass prices barely more than a long-distance single.
Yet again, we are treated to something straight out of the 'opinion presented as fact' bin as is so common on here.

As Carl points out, you don't even realise that concessionary reimbursement is not a subsidy.
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Old 10th February 2017, 16:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpers Tate View Post
The answer is yes - as regards pay-the-driver SINGLE fares.

And the reasoning is quite easy. The formula for calculating the ENCTS payment starts with the average adult single fare. The higher this is, therefore, the greater the subsidy. Thus bus companies have intentionally increased single fares so as to raise their subsidy. Slowly, inexorably, and knowingly. At the same time, prices of day passes and anything longer have not increased proportionately; they are the product that is priced competitively without other considerations, which in turn is why we see typical day pass prices barely more than a long-distance single.
this is wrong. initial calculations take in to account single, return, day, multiple journey and season tickets all weighted at different levels according to their percieved use.

calculations also take in to account the total income of the service -or group of services- being operated. this means that putting up single -or any- fares can result in reimbursements going down if they are recalculated by the authority paying for travel. likewise the calculations are only likely to be revised if requested -and probably paid for- by the operator.
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Old 10th February 2017, 16:07   #14
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I'm going to say what I always say.

Firstly, ENCTS reimbursement- it isn't a subsidy, it is payment for services- is calculated from a starting point largely based on the single adult fare. Therefore there is a perverse incentive for bus operators to have very high single fares for short journeys, which most of them do. It's only when you look at day and weekly tickets that you start to get fares that are not distorted by this.

Secondly, ENCTS only reimburses for the passengers who would have paid, not everyone who travels. This has an effect where operators have to increase capacity to accommodate ENCTS passholders but do not receive additional income to pay for the increased capacity. Notable examples include Arriva Teesside having to convert the X93 to double deckers because of ENCTS passholders, and Yorkshire Coastliner having to get rid of their single deckers because they couldn't cope for the same reason. This means the additional capacity has to be paid for by fare-paying passengers, leading to inflation.

Thirdly, ENCTS reimbursement rates are falling because of significant and prolonged cuts to council budgets. DfT no longer contribute towards the cost of ENCTS, and the councils' central formula grant funding has been falling for the last seven years due to austerity. This means that bus operators are getting less money for carrying the ENCTS passholders, a revenue stream that they cannot control, therefore the shortfall inevitably has to be made from increases in revenue streams that they do control. That means farepaying passengers.

There are also the other costs that bus operators have that increase and, again, they can only cover the shortfall from revenue streams that they do control. This means that, in areas with a lot of ENCTS pass usage, fare rises have to be much higher than inflation just to balance the books.

The essential problem is that the government have precisely no intention of funding the ENCTS reimbursements properly, but they lack the political courage to abolish what is an unaffordable freebie.
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Old 10th February 2017, 16:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AM9 View Post
Bus services at their current levels are to an extent dependent on the ENCTS scheme, so any political attempt to 'save money' or reduce the 'free perks' for pass holders would have unintended impacts.
ENCTS reimbursements are calculated based on how many people would have paid to travel. It is reimbursement for the fares the operator would have received if people had had to pay, and is largely based on the adult single fare, but does take into account how many passholders would buy daily or weekly tickets instead. It is not based on how many people travelled, it's based on how many people would, hypothetically, have paid.

Bus services aren't dependent on ENCTS reimbursement revenue for this very reason. A commercial service that can survive on ENCTS should, by the very nature of the calculation, survive on commercial revenue.
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