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Free Travel (Pensioners)

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the exclusion of the rush hour from the free travel scheme for pensioners. (95705)

The statutory minimum entitlement to free local bus travel for pensioners is currently from 9.30 am to 11 pm Monday to Friday, with no peak time restrictions at weekends or on bank holidays. Local authorities already have the discretion to vary their concessionary fare schemes to include peak time bus travel, based on their judgment of local needs and their overall financial priorities. There are no plans at present to change the statutory times.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what consultations Ministers and officials have undertaken with Bus Users UK on free travel for pensioners; (95713)

(2) which organisations his Department is consulting on the implementation of free travel entitlements for pensioners.

The Department for Transport has set up various groups to canvass the views of stakeholders. Those invited include:

Age Concern

Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers

Better Government for Older People & Older People's Advisory Group

Bus Users UK

Community Transport Association

Confederation of Passenger Transport UK

Deaf Blind UK

Disability Charities Consortium

Disability Rights Commission

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee

Epilepsy Action

Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

Help the Aged

Joint Committee on the Mobility of Disabled People

Joint Committee on the Mobility of Blind and Partially Sighted People

Local Government Association

London Councils (formerly Association of London Government)

London Travel Watch

National Pensioners Convention

Passenger Transport Executive Group

Royal National Institute for the Blind

Royal National Institute for the Deaf

Transport 2000

Bus Users UK is one of many such organisations representing users which was invited to a meeting with officials in September.

Ministers from the Department have met with representatives from various organisations to discuss concessionary travel for pensioners.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what basis future funding will be allocated for the national free travel scheme for pensioners. (95773)

From April 2008 people aged 60 or older and disabled people will be entitled to free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in the country. No decision has been made on the funding mechanism. We are consulting local authorities, bus operators and other interested parties on the best framework for delivering the improved concessionary fares entitlement.