Is Pensioner free travel forcing up prices?

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by philthetube, 10 Feb 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. graham11

    graham11 Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    21 Oct 2016
    The idea of only giving bus passes to people who either don`t drive or are prepared to give up their motorcars is unreasonable.

    Somebody mentioned "well off " pensioners getting the benefit of the pass but a single mother , working and having children have to pay full fares,
    Those mothers get housing benefit and child allowances etc

    I am begrudged my bus pass but I have never begrudged my taxes being used to help pay for other peoples children .

    Perhaps a good compromise would be a yearly fee of say £20 for the pass .With the millions of pensioners paying that it would bring in a large sum to offset the cost of the pass.

    Graham
     
  2. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,459
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    Given that about half of all bus journeys in the UK/England are within the TfL area, it is reasonable to assume that a similar proportion of national free pass journeys are made there on both Freedom passes and 60+ Oyster cards, and that would be a number well within anybody's definition of 'many' for London alone.
     
  3. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,459
    Joined:
    13 May 2014
    Location:
    St Albans
    That wouldn't satify the envy of some because the average usage of each ENCTS pass is said to be well in excess of that. If I had to pay £20 for mine, I would factor that into each decision to use the card and probably make more journeys using it. I believe that many other holders would do the same so the overall value of free travel would rise and those complaining would see fewer empty seats on the buses. Conversely, there are many pass holders who rarely use them and are criticised by younger people because the cost of issuing their ITSO passes is a waste. It's all part of the current culture to blame everything on baby boomers.
    On a similar (slightly OT) note, I have a swimming pass which gives me unlimited access for an annual cost of £99, (it currently costs over £4 per session). I deliberately chose that to encourage me to swim more often.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  4. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

    Messages:
    7,744
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Why?

    And poor pensioners also get housing benefit, council tax benefit and pension credit on top of the state pension.

    On top of that, benefit cuts have only targeted working age people. As AM9 points out, this is because pensioners win elections (as an aside, it's as much about demographics and sheer numbers as voting proportions, given the ageing population).

    But we're talking about buses here.

    ENCTS was brought in as an uncosted and unaffordable electoral bribe by Brown. It needs to be abolished as such. Never mind "I paid in for this", because you didn't, as the scheme didn't exist ten years ago.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  5. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    25,231
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    Prior to ENCTS there were individual council schemes with some councils deciding bus pass use ended at the council boundary and others deciding that as long as the journey started or ended in the council area the older person was resident in that it was OK. Then there was the issue of not all council boroughs being the same size. Brown probably thought he was solving those problems by introducing ENCTS.
     
  6. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    25,231
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    I'm not sure it is. I don't think having a medical condition which makes you unfit to drive automatically entitles you to a disabled person's bus pass.
     
  7. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    25,231
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    The reality is if you asked someone to come up with a system which is fair and equitable some people would object it's not fair.

    Just looking at the example you gave - a single person struggling to make ends meet could say it's unfair that the woman who has chosen to have children gets child tax credits and that they have to pay taxes which help to support her.

    Then it could be the 3 children are triplets or 2 of them are twins and the woman didn't plan to have so many children.

    It's the same with out of work benefits. The person who bought a brand new car or a house 6 months before losing their job can get more out of work benefits than the person who saved up but hasn't yet made the purchase, so you could argue the system penalises you for not spontaneously making big purchases.
     
  8. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

    Messages:
    7,744
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Most concessionary schemes before ENCTS didn't provide for free travel for pensioners. There was a brief time when there was a hybrid system of free travel, but only in the local area, but predominantly in history pensioners have had to pay for their bus travel, albeit at a reduced rate.

    I would fully support pensioners getting a reduced rate- up here the flat fare used to be 30p, so I'd suggest 50p taking into account inflation- and limiting it to their local area. The scheme is unaffordable. Perhaps it should be affordable, but the simple fact is that it isn't, as both operators and councils are repeatedly stating.

    My issue with ENCTS remains that it is giving money to people who can afford to pay, to travel on buses that would commercially operate regardless. Anyone who doesn't live on a commercial bus route loses out. Look at Cumbria: most rural and evening buses have now gone, because all the cash goes on pensioners having a jolly day out on the 555. It's unsustainable.

    All this talk of "jealousy" hides the true fact that the scheme was not costed and funded properly, has never been costed and funded properly, and never will be costed and funded properly. But of course people like graham11 will whinge that anyone who is against it is merely jealous, because it avoids them having to engage with the real issues and the real costs and consequences of the scheme.
     
  9. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

    Messages:
    7,744
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Now this is so off topic as to probably need a separate topic, but that is simply not true.

    If you are in rented accommodation you can get housing benefit immediately. If you own your own house then you can get some help towards the interest charged on a mortgage (but not the capital)- known as ISMI- but there is a waiting period of 39 weeks. If you are of working age then ISMI payments are limited to a maximum of two years' payment. If you are of pension age, however, then the payments are not time limited (though yes, pensioners are less likely to have a mortgage).

    Poor pensioners have access to most benefits that working age people do, including housing benefit and council tax benefit. For the latter, the payment for council tax benefit is actually higher if you are a pensioner, as the government specifies 100% payment for poor pensioners but specifically doesn't for poor people of working age. For housing benefit, if you are single and aged under 35 then the maximum payment is the amount it would cost to rent a room in a shared house. If you're a single pensioner, there is no such restriction. The whole system is stacked in favour of pensioners, which is why the overwhelming majority of the social welfare budget actually goes to pensioners.

    You don't get any help from the benefits system for any existing debts, including cars on hire purchase or other types of loan agreement. If you can't pay, they take it away.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  10. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    25,231
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    £16,000 in savings excludes you from getting most benefits (except for c.£70 a week in contribution based JSA for a maximum of 26 weeks) so if you have £25,000 in savings which you intend to use as a house deposit and fail to find work within 26 weeks then you get nothing in following weeks, while £70 is unlikely to cover your rent and living expenses for the first 26 weeks.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  11. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    25,231
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    In the former Macclesfield borough I'm aware pre-ENCTS the scheme was over 60s got offered a choice of:
    1. Free senior railcard.
    2. Free bus pass.

    If they chose the latter they got free bus travel on journeys starting and ending in the borough (with an exception of pre-09:30 on weekdays.) So if they got on the Macclesfield to Manchester bus in Macclesfield they could stay on until Manchester without paying but if they broke their journey in Cheadle they then had to pay for the Cheadle-Manchester leg or go back south to Handforth and then travel north to Manchester.

    I'm not sure how long the pre-ENCTS scheme ran for.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  12. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

    Messages:
    7,744
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    It's not quite as simple as that. £16k+ savings excludes you entirely, but any amount over £6k gives you a "deemed income" that reduces your benefit entitlement. This deemed income also applies to pensioners but- quelle surprise- at a more preferential rate.

    You're right in saying that if you splurge all your savings on the house/car just before you become unemployed then you may get more benefits, as you won't have the effect of this deemed income. But also bear in mind that it depends what you bought and when you bought it: if the DWP think you've deliberately got rid of savings then they can take it into account regardless.
     
  13. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

    Messages:
    6,338
    Joined:
    29 Oct 2009
    Calling someone "jealous" seems to be a catch all response now to any injustice. No matter how wrong something is, if you are jealous about it, that makes it OK.

    The top priority is to make public transport services as attractive as possible so that as many people as possible leave their cars at home. (Note, I don't just say "bus". I mean local public transport as a whole). It is hard to see how this free travel scheme achieves that given that the people who the scheme is aimed at are less likely to be driving compared to most of the population.

    Offering free travel to pensioners doesn't make England more civilised than other countries. In the Netherlands for example, over 65s only get 34% off (although it is 34% off bus, tram and metro, not just bus) and it is hard to argue that England is more civilised than the Netherlands!
     
  14. graham11

    graham11 Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    21 Oct 2016
    Arctic Troll.

    To suggest that I am whinging and accuse people of being Jealous , a word that I never used , is somewhat unfair,

    Just trying to be a "devil`s advocate" and try to see both sides of a discussion does not mean I am whinging.

    I certainly see all sides and as I stated would be quite happy to pay part costs.
    It seems to me the other way round that many people seem Jealous ___ there I have used the word here ----of what pensioners get. .

    I also agree with you that a large part of benefits go to the pensioners but what is the alternative ?

    Perhaps some of the huge amounts wasted by goverments and councils could be better spent.
     
  15. Pigalle

    Pigalle Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2015
    Until Nottingham City Council refused to pay for passes on the Red Arrow out of Nottingham this was a regular occurrence for passengers travelling towards Derby waiting to board at QMC in the evening peak on Wednesdays when the Theater Royal / Royal Concert Hall had a matinee on. Quite often the bus would be leaving passengers behind at Parliament Street as well.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2017
  16. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

    Messages:
    3,178
    Joined:
    22 Sep 2013
    ENCTS passes are no longer valid on any Red Arrow leaving Nottingham.
     
  17. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

    Messages:
    25,231
    Joined:
    23 Jan 2009
    I've seen the first Arriva Scarborough-Whitby service after 09:30 leave with paying passengers standing due to the number of over 60s travelling. As I've only seen it a couple of times it's possible on a different day it could leave someone behind but regardless of whether anyone was left behind it's a long way to stand to Robin Hoods Bay (where some people get off) which may cause fare paying passengers to stop using the bus.
     
  18. Bookd

    Bookd Member

    Messages:
    244
    Joined:
    27 Aug 2015
    I benefit from the London freedom pass, which is much more beneficial than other areas, and also applies as a bus pass outside London. London has had similar benefits for many years which I have always paid for through my Council Tax or rates, and I do not feel at all guilty now that it is my turn to collect.
    TfL also give free or discounted travel to under 15s, students, apprentices, war veterans and the disabled (and maybe others)- taking these with staff passes I wonder if many people need to pay at all!

    I understand that tourist areas may lose out on pensioner travel; in theory it would be easy to charge the passenger's residential area, but this this would need a standardised charge back rate. Since the scheme was introduced technology has moved forward - think of touch and pay credit cards. If pensioners permit cards were set up as, effectively, t/p debit cards then they could automatically credit the bus company and debit the home authority.
    The drawback is that all existing cards would need to be replaced as would all of the card readers, which would be very expensive and logistically a nightmare.
     
  19. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

    Messages:
    711
    Joined:
    15 Jul 2009
    I agree with the principles outlined in your post but would add that the Netherlands probably pay a higher state pension.I think that you have to add all the benefits together to make a meaningful analysis. As I have stated in previous posts, the current funding arrangements are not sustainable. It is however for Parliament to sort out.
     
  20. JamesRowden

    JamesRowden Established Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    Joined:
    31 Aug 2011
    Location:
    Ilfracombe
    Senior tourists visiting an area should improve the area's economy.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page