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House of Commons Hansard
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Bus Services: Concessions
26 November 2009
Volume 501
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To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what guidance his Department gives to local authorities seeking to reduce their expenditure on concessionary bus fares. [301079]

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The Department for Transport does not provide guidance specifically on how to reduce expenditure on concessionary travel. Travel concession authorities (TCAs) are required by law to reimburse bus operators for carrying concessionary bus travellers, with the objective that the operators are left no better off and no worse off by taking part in concessionary travel schemes.

The Department provides guidance to local authorities and bus operators on how to calculate appropriate reimbursement, which sets out the Department’s preferred route for calculating reimbursement (via the use of the reimbursement analysis tool). However TCAs are free to use the methodology of their choice subject to ensuring consistency with the no better and no worse off objective.

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the cost to the public purse of subsidising bus services was in each year since 1997. [301294]

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The Government subsidise bus services in England through the Department for Transport’s bus service operators grant (BSOG) which is paid to operators of local bus services.

Since 1998, the Government have also provided rural bus subsidy grant which helps local authorities to support rural bus services in England.

The following table shows the amounts paid by Government in each year since 1997 through bus service operators grant and rural bus subsidy grant in England:

£ million

Bus service operators grant in England

Rural bus subsidy grant

1997-98

187.3

1998-99

222.3

32.5

1999-2000

277.4

32.5

2000-01

301.3

32.5

2001-02

304.3

41.5

2002-03

317.2

47.5

2003-04

331.4

48.5

2004-05

347.5

51.0

2005-06

357.6

53.0

2006-07

367.5

54.3

2007-08

392.2

55.6

2008-09

423.2

57.0

2009-10

436.6

58.5

Total

4,265.9

564.4

Rural bus services are also supported by local authorities’ revenue support grant (RSG) funding. It is for local authorities to decide what bus services to support in their area according to local needs and priorities.