Environment Cabinet Member – Minutes – 1 December 2016

15  (15) CONCESSIONARY FARES 2017/18 – PUBLICATION OF DRAFT SCHEME – The Director of Places submitted an urgent report providing an update on reviewing the reimbursement rate for the council’s concessionary fare scheme for 2017/18, and seeking approval for a “Draft Scheme” for concessionary fares reimbursement.

The council, as a travel concession authority, had a duty to provide free travel for older people and people with disabilities between 9.30am and 11.00pm, Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and bank holidays. This was part of the English National Travel Concession Scheme.  Bus operators were reimbursed for concession passengers that travelled on local registered bus services.  The council also funded other modes of transport such as CallConnect (a flexible bus service) and the voluntary car scheme coordinated by Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council.

The council was allowed to offer and fund additional travel entitlements using discretionary powers from Section 93 of the Transport Act 1985. The following additional discretionary entitlements were currently provided:

  • Half or discounted local rail travel (cost £62,000).
  • Free bus travel for companions of disabled people who could not use buses or trains on their own (cost £24,000).
  • Free bus travel for passholders all day (e.g. before 9.30am) every day on journeys within or from North Lincolnshire (cost £20,000 to £100,000).

However, the introduction of CallConnect could justify future consideration of the removal of rail support. Network rail also offered rail cards for the elderly and people with disabilities for an annual fee providing off peak discount nationally.

Savings could also be made via the administrative process of issuing bus passes and determining eligibility. For example, the council now charged £10 to replace bus passes if lost, damaged or mislaid. In June 2016, the software system for issuing passes was changed, which had also delivered savings.

The report gave details of the considerations, along with financial implications, of reviewing the reimbursement rate.

The matter was urgent as timescales meant that the draft scheme required publication by 1 December 2016.

Resolved – (a) That the “Draft Scheme” for concessionary fares reimbursement, as set out in the report and accompanying appendix, be approved, and (b) that the proposal to adopt a two year arrangement, as set out in paragraph 2.9 of the report, be approved.