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Bus Services: Fares

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the percentage change in bus fares in (a) passenger transport executive areas, (b) other urban areas, (c) London and (d) other areas of England was from one year to the next in each year since 2007. (307039)

Figures are available for Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) areas and London, but it is not possible to separate other urban areas and other areas of England using published statistics. The available statistics are shown in the following table.

Year-on-year percentage change in bus fares index in England

Financial year

London

PTE areas1

Rest of England2

2006-07

8

1

-4

2007-08

5

6

5

2008-09

0

7

6

1 PTE areas are Tyne and Wear, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

2 The negative fares growth in the “Rest of England” in 2006-07 is largely a result of the introduction of the free local bus travel concession for older or disabled people in April 2006. This generally had a greater impact on fares structures outside of London and the PTE areas.

These percentage changes are calculated using the differences in the average of the bus fares index over each year. They therefore reflect the change from the average fare level in the previous year to the average fare level in the current year.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what formula is used to allocate national concessionary bus fare grants to local authorities. (307579)

The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) provides the majority of concessionary travel funding to local authorities through Formula Grant. This is a block grant, so it is not possible to say how much of this grant is provided for concessionary travel. Formula grant is largely distributed using the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the authority, together with the number of band-D equivalent properties within the authority's area.

The Department for Transport provides the remainder through a special grant. This is funding solely to cover the extra costs brought about by the improvement to the statutory minimum concession which gives free off-peak local bus travel England-wide from April 2008.

The special grant formula takes into account the eligible local population, bus patronage, overnight visitors and retail space. It is designed to direct funding towards areas of greater demand, such as coastal towns and urban centres.

The Government recognise that there are some issues around the distribution of special grant and that some Travel Concession Authorities have genuine funding problems, so we are now consulting on changes to the distribution of the special grant for 2010-11. The proposed revised distribution is based on an analysis of the actual additional costs incurred in 2008-09 as a result of the improved concession.