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Changes to Concessionary Bus Travel in Bedford Borough

 

Changes have been agreed to discount travel in Bedford Borough for pensioners and qualifying disabled people.

                                                                                                                                                                              
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) allows pass holders to travel free of charge on bus journeys where the journey commences between 9.30am and 11.00pm Monday to Friday or anytime on weekends or bank holidays. This scheme is still in place in the borough and those entitled to use the service will still have access to these benefits.

However, as well as the national scheme Bedford Borough Council has also subsidised pass holders' travel to allow them to use buses for free at any time on journeys within the borough. It is to this additional allowance that will be subject to changes in the coming weeks.

Amendments to the discretionary benefits offered by the Council mean that Bedford Borough residents who are ENCTS pass holders travelling before 9.30am on weekdays will now pay a contribution of £1 per journey toward the cost of their journey as of 1st February 2017.

The Council is required to reimburse bus operators for lost income because pass holders travel free of charge and the current cost to the Council is in the region of £2.7 million a year. It is anticipated that these new changes will reduce the Council's costs by an estimated £100,000 per year whilst still providing significantly discounted fares for ENCTS pass holders.

 

Portfolio holder for Finance, Councillor Michael Headley said: "Punishing government cuts have created a full-blown funding crisis for local services and tough decisions are now unavoidable. However, unlike a number of other local authorities Bedford Borough Council is choosing to support bus travel for pensioners and disabled people with a discount scheme that exceeds the national requirements."

 

Who is affected?

Bedford Borough residents who have an English National Concessionary Travel pass (pensioners and qualifying disabled people).

 

Which bus journeys are affected?

Only journeys on weekdays that are wholly within Bedford Borough and start before 9.30am or after 11.00pm are affected.  Travel at other times will continue to be free for pass holders.

 

What are the changes?

Pass holders will be able to travel on most of these journeys for a fare of £1.00 per journey before 9.30am or after 11.00pm.

The full fare will be charged on X5 services and on journeys beyond the Bedford Borough boundary.

 

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, on routes where there is only one morning service (at present this applies to route 26 from Knotting, Melchbourne and Yelden) and on community transport services. Travel on these services will be free for journeys within the Borough and for a fare of £1.00 for journeys beyond the Borough boundary.

 

Do companions of a disabled pass holder have to pay?

No.  A companion of a disabled person with a companion pass can travel free at anytime within Bedford Borough.

 

Is the Door to Door service affected?

No. The fare for Door to Door services will continue to be free for journeys within the Borough (however, membership and booking fees are charged by the service operator).

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