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Bus Services: Concessions

Volume 470: debated on Friday 25 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many individuals living in (a) Formby (L37), (b) Crosby (L23), (c) Hightown (L38) and (d) Seaforth and Waterloo (L22 and L21) have been awarded a free bus travel pass in 2007-08; what proportion of bus travellers this represents in each area; and how much this benefit has cost the public purse in each year since 1997. (181152)

The Department does not hold information about the number of passes issued at the level requested. Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (Merseytravel) administers the Concessionary Travel Scheme that covers (a) Formby, (b) Crosby, (c) Hightown and (d) Seaforth and Waterloo. In October 2007 Merseytravel reported to the Department that they had a total of 286,794 concessionary travel passes currently in circulation.

The Department does not have information about the number of bus trips taken by concessionaires at the level requested. Merseytravel is responsible for administering the scheme and may hold this data.

Funding for concessionary travel is within Revenue Support Grant (RSG), so it is not possible to disaggregate information for the cost of this to the public purse since 1997. When the statutory minimum concession was raised from half fare to free off-peak local bus travel from 1 April 2006 an additional £350 million was added to RSG in 2006-07, with a further £367.5 million in 2007-08. From April 2008 an additional £212 million will be paid directly to local authorities by special grant to fund the new national concession, rising to £217 million in 2009-10 and £223 million in 2010-11. In the provisional distribution of the grant in 2008-09 Merseytravel would receive £6.519 million through special grant in addition to the existing RSG funding.