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Public Transport: Finance

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate she has made of the abstraction of rail revenue to the intercity coach network when the National Concessionary Fare Scheme is implemented in April 2008; (149651)

(2) whether free concessionary travel will be available to older and disabled passengers on intercity express coach services registered as local bus services under the proposed national scheme due to come into force in April 2008.

[holding answer 16 July 2007]: An eligible pass holder will be able to travel for free at off-peak times on any registered local bus service anywhere in England from April next year. Eligible services are defined in the Travel Concessions (Eligible Services) Order 2002—a number of criteria have to be met in order for a service to be obliged to offer the statutory concession. An intercity coach service will be obliged to provide the national bus concession on any parts of their route that provides a local service and fulfils the criteria set out in the legislation.

It is likely that many long intercity coach services will not be covered by the national bus concession in their entirety as they will not be eligible services under the 2002 Order.

No assessment has been made of the abstraction of rail revenue to the intercity coach network following the introduction of national bus concession.

It will be for operators and local authorities to assess which services are covered in accordance with the criteria set out.

The Department is keeping the issue of eligible services under review. The definition can be changed by secondary legislation.