Concessionary Fares Schemes

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Conference
2006 Transport Service Group Conference
Date
15 March 2006
Decision

Conference whilst welcoming the proposal to introduce a long awaited UK-wide concessionary bus fares scheme effective from April 2008 announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Speech, in line with Unison policy, it deplores this delay to include England as existing national schemes already exist in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The extension of the previous sparse arrangements in England to all over 60’s and disabled people from 1st April 2006 whilst a very welcome and progressive move as this will inevitably make an important contribution to the quality of life of this section of the community and encourage more public transport use,

Conference is concerned that local authorities and PTA/PTEs have received inadequate funding for the implementation of the improved scheme and that the additional funds are not ring-fenced. There may be particularly serious impacts on those Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) which operate light rail systems.

Additionally there is a danger that funds may be diverted from supporting socially useful commercial routes to the concessionary scheme leading to an overall reduction in services and a threat to the job security of our members in bus companies and PTEs and thus a lower value to such concessionary passes.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive to work with transport branches and, through the Local Government Service Group, those local authority branches affected by such funding difficulties, and campaign for:

1.the extension of concessionary fares schemes in line with UNISON policy to provide for free travel across all of the United Kingdom on all modes of public transport;

2.adequate funding for such schemes;

3.the protection of jobs in bus companies and PTEs.

Furthermore Conference calls on the Transport Service Group Executive to arrange for an early meeting with the appropriate Transport Minister to discuss this issue of consequential damage to bus service and loss of jobs in the industry affecting our transport planning and accountancy members as well as bus drivers.