Government ends concessionary coach fares

Making longer journeys is about to get more difficult for many older people. From 1 November 2011 older people will not be able to benefit from a 50% discount to coach travel.

At the moment coach operators claim subsidies in return for offering a half-price concession to older and disabled people. The move to end this arrangement was quietly announced by the government in an annex to the Department for Transport’s Spending Review last year.

Higher prices

We have heard concerns from older people who depend on the coach concession to get out and about, to see friends and family or travel further afield if they wish. Removing the concession will mean higher prices and some people will think twice before travelling. People in later life that are at risk of facing loneliness and social isolation will be further put off from leaving their home.

The increased cost will also have an effect on demand, which in turn could mean some coach services are no longer viable. National Express run 18 routes where 32-51% of passengers receive concessions. This is a particular concern on some rural routes where concessionary passengers currently make up a significant proportion of travellers. Without their custom the route may not be able to run.

Pressure on public transport

The implications of removing the concession should also be seen in the context of other changes to public transport. Over the last couple of weeks we have seen reports of rising rail prices and cuts to subsidies that keep bus services running. For people without access to private transport the options for affordable travel are becoming more and more limited.

Delay plans

It has been reported that the government has to make this cut to meet the budget deficit. While we recognise that something has to give, the cut to the coach concession feels arbitrary with no proper consideration of the impacts. There has been no public consultation on the change to coach concessions, which means disabled and older people have been excluded from the debate and decision-making process.

The government should seriously consider delaying plans to cut the concession to allow enough time to consult properly with both concession pass holders and operators. With proper consideration an alternative solution could be agreed.

Age UK is working with Disability Alliance and Campaign for Better Transport to make sure the government recognises the impact this will have on older and disabled passengers.

10 thoughts on “Government ends concessionary coach fares”

  1. And that’s what you get with a Tory government and a Cabinet of millionaires. Nothing much changes you can usually guarantee the Tories will always seek to make lives miserable for all except the wealthy.

  2. I use the coaches a lot to get around and visit friends. I cannot afford to run a car and traveling by train is a nightmare as apart from the rather high cost, if you have luggage it is almost impossible to find a luggage wrack.If you are lucky enough to find space for your luggage it is likely to be miles away from a seat, even if you are lucky enough to find one. As a widow I feel much more secure traveling on a coach but even that is now being priced out of reach

    1. Totally in agreement. Do not be surprised if they cut our pension, local bus pass, prescription fees next. THEY WANT TO KILL US OFF EARLY FOR THEIR CRONIES TO WASTE OUR MONEY

  3. It is a disgrace and yes it is much safer to use a coach when traveling alone this Government have a lot to answer too. They are all millionaires so wouldnt know what it was to use public transport.

  4. in my view this is an unjust cut – typica of conservative governments past and present they protect the rich and promote selfish individuality as opposed to communal responsibility for one another a key principle in community building. As for all the nonsense that most OAPS are rich enough to pay full fair, this misses the point comletely. Those who are wealthy will, by and large, travel by car. Those OAPs and disabled people who use coaches do so because it is a relatively inexpensive way to travel and as has already been said above it provides some security to people travelling alone. Without a doubt this will impact on older people’s freedom of movement and ability to visit friends and family which will no doubt affect their health and well being. I for one would be glad to see my taxes spent in this way.

  5. The Government being spiteful and vindictive as per usual. Carrying on Tony’s hatefulness of making as many people as possible suffer. Stop wasting money on a war we cannot afford and also on bombing Libya at any given opportunity. Giving away £65 million of taxpayers money to Pakistan etc is outrageous. Dave is useless and hits at the weakest. Take from the rich as the lower paid workers pay less tax than the tycoon. So the elderly with little money and the disabled have to stay home thanks to you Dave. Hard hearted waste of space who only cares about the rich.

  6. Well, we old people have been sentenced to confinement in the places where we live. Bravo, the Tory government! Now you need to make some more effort to finally confine us to graveyards.

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