Campaign to save bus pass

SIGN UP: Wyre Forest Campaign for Better Buses collects signatures in support of the universal bus pass.

SIGN UP: Wyre Forest Campaign for Better Buses collects signatures in support of the universal bus pass.

First published in Local Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

ALMOST 1,000 people in Kidderminster have signed a petition to save the free bus pass for pensioners.

Wyre Forest Campaign for Better Buses, which was set up by local Green Party members, collected the signatures in protest against Government proposals to axe universal entitlement to the bus pass and, instead, introduce a means-tested system.

Ronnie Lee, campaigns co-ordinator of Wyre Forest Green Party, said: “Once again the Government’s austerity cuts are hitting the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community the hardest.

“This bus pass is a lifeline for older people who do not drive because, without it, they will not be able to access vital services and amenities.

“Pensioner use of public transport also helps to keep vital services running, maintaining jobs in this important industry.

“This benefits us all. It is well known that good public transport systems strengthen communities, improve health and reduce pollution from private vehicles.”

The signatures were collected at stalls held outside Kidderminster Town Hall and will contribute to the grassroots Love the Bus Pass campaign, which aims to present a petition of 100,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street in support of the universal bus pass.

Wyre Forest Campaign for Better Buses was set up in 2013 in response to Worcestershire County Council’s plan to cut subsidies to local transport services.

The group collected more than 1,000 signatures in opposition to the £3 million money-saving proposals and contributed towards a record-breaking 8,500 responses to the public consultation questionnaire.

Comments (4)

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10:58am Mon 4 Aug 14

Aquarius says...

The problem is that the free transport system was flawed from the start as regards to how it was funded. Bus companies are not now being refunded enough per passenger carried (and its not a subsidy, its payment for service provided) so services are actually having to be cut since income fron the passes is not enough to sustain services.

Perhaps charging a sum for a pass to be provided to an individual might work (although admin costs would probably swallow up the fee). Or a nominal sum payable every time you board a bus with a pass.

Its a difficult issue, but I just can't see the current system surviving. People need to understand that in some areas it's killing bus services off. But of course the pass users probably won't see that.
The problem is that the free transport system was flawed from the start as regards to how it was funded. Bus companies are not now being refunded enough per passenger carried (and its not a subsidy, its payment for service provided) so services are actually having to be cut since income fron the passes is not enough to sustain services. Perhaps charging a sum for a pass to be provided to an individual might work (although admin costs would probably swallow up the fee). Or a nominal sum payable every time you board a bus with a pass. Its a difficult issue, but I just can't see the current system surviving. People need to understand that in some areas it's killing bus services off. But of course the pass users probably won't see that. Aquarius
  • Score: 4

8:06pm Mon 4 Aug 14

stour67 says...

Sorry to say but they should be means tested.
Sorry to say but they should be means tested. stour67
  • Score: 1

8:46pm Mon 4 Aug 14

sonofbaldwin says...

Strange, I don’t remember this level of campaigning when the original recommendations (in a feasability report produced for the Local Government Association ) came out in 2009 under the last Labour government.
Mind you, Nick Clegg did table a motion in 2012 that that all pensioner benefits, including bus passes, ought to be means-tested, and he complained about a system that means “Lord Sugar is eligible for a free bus pass”!
Strange, I don’t remember this level of campaigning when the original recommendations (in a feasability report produced for the Local Government Association ) came out in 2009 under the last Labour government. Mind you, Nick Clegg did table a motion in 2012 that that all pensioner benefits, including bus passes, ought to be means-tested, and he complained about a system that means “Lord Sugar is eligible for a free bus pass”! sonofbaldwin
  • Score: 1

11:16pm Mon 4 Aug 14

blakedownron says...

Means testing itself would cost money and it's surely easier to tax the rich a bit more to finance free bus passes for all pensioners. That way, the wealthy would still be paying for their passes, but in a different way.

This isn't just a social issue, as for environmental reasons, we need to be encouraging more people to get out of their cars and use public transport and universal, free, non means tested passes for all pensioners is one way of doing this.
Means testing itself would cost money and it's surely easier to tax the rich a bit more to finance free bus passes for all pensioners. That way, the wealthy would still be paying for their passes, but in a different way. This isn't just a social issue, as for environmental reasons, we need to be encouraging more people to get out of their cars and use public transport and universal, free, non means tested passes for all pensioners is one way of doing this. blakedownron
  • Score: 9

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