Celebrate the concessionary bus pass and the bus

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Conference
2019 National Retired Members Conference
Date
1 January 2019
Decision
Carried

A recent report in the Journal of Transport and Health by Dr Sarah Jackson, highlighted important benefits for older people who use a concessionary bus pass:

a) Older people who use a concessionary bus pass tend to be more happy and physically active;

b) They are also less likely to be socially isolated when they have a bus pass, which facilitates better contact with friends and family;

c) This has a positive impact on mental health, as social isolation can cause depression;

d) The knock on effects for both physical and mental health, maintaining wellbeing, is likely to help people stay physically healthy in later life, reducing financial costs to the National Health Service, Social Services, etc, associated with an ageing population.

Conference reiterates its support for the concessionary bus pass but recognises that many pensioners are unable to make use of their pass because of the scarcity or unavailability of buses in their area.

59% of passenger journeys are made on buses but since 2010 3,000 bus routes have disappeared, buses are less frequent and may cease operation in the early evening. This leaves pensioners who are not able to use a car stuck at home or having to use expensive options like taxis or private dial-a-ride services which put further pressure on bus routes. Conference notes that provision is worse in rural areas.

Conference welcomes the campaign by Midlands Trade Union Congress Pensioners and Transport unions to promote the bus pass and the bus as socially beneficial and to engage Members of Parliament.

Conference welcomes the Report of the Transport Select Committee into the Health of Bus transport and the proposal that the Government draws up a national bus strategy to reverse the decline in bus usage. It further welcomes the commitment by the Labour Opposition to provide funding to reverse the cuts to 3,000 bus routes and repeal legislation which limits public provision. The Transport Select Committee report noted that privatisation had worsened the situation outside London.

The most successful, best quality and best used bus services in London, Reading and Nottingham are publicly controlled.

Conference calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the National Executive Council, organisations representing pensioners, Labour Link and Transport unions to:

1) Raise awareness of the important benefits;

2) Retain the Concessionary Bus Pass for those older people currently eligible in the UK and for all pensioners;

3) To campaign nationally against any local attempts to cut concessionary bus passes;

4) Encourage retired members to support any future campaigns to celebrate the bus organised by Trade Union Congress pensioners;

5) Press the government to ensure that it provides to Local Authorities funding which meets the full cost of the concessionary bus pass in their area;

6) Support the recommendation from the Select Committee for a national bus strategy to reverse the decline in service and passenger usage;

7) Support the extension of successful models of publicly provided bus services such as exist in London, Reading and Nottingham which has pioneered an Eco bus fleet.

Derbyshire County / East Midlands (duplicate motion)

South West Region

Hampshire