Discussion:
Travelcards and bus passes
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Graham Harrison
2019-03-02 07:06:15 UTC
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I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.

With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.

All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?

While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
Recliner
2019-03-02 10:52:37 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Graham Harrison
I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.
With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.
All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?
While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
As I understand it, the bus company gets reimbursed (using a complicated
formula) by the local 'travel concession authorities’ (TCAs). In England
these are county, unitary and metropolitan authorities and the 33 London
councils, which collectively get a government formula grant talking about
£1bn. However, some TCAs make a loss and some a profit on this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/7844371.stm

In any case, your local TCA doesn't get billed for your use elsewhere in
England, and the bus company just needs to count the total number of
concessionary fares, not who issued the bus passes.
Roland Perry
2019-03-02 13:14:47 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Recliner
Post by Graham Harrison
I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.
With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.
All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?
While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
As I understand it, the bus company gets reimbursed (using a complicated
formula) by the local 'travel concession authorities’ (TCAs). In England
these are county, unitary and metropolitan authorities and the 33 London
councils, which collectively get a government formula grant talking about
£1bn. However, some TCAs make a loss and some a profit on this.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/7844371.stm
There's very little data there, other than the obvious "winners and
losers" hand-wringing.
Post by Recliner
In any case, your local TCA doesn't get billed for your use elsewhere in
England, and the bus company just needs to count the total number of
concessionary fares, not who issued the bus passes.
If you read the official reports[1] on the scheme, they are always
couched in terms of "boardings", not least because that's the only data
that's collected (people don't have to "touch-out").

Which is consistent with my recollection that the money which is sent to
the bus company comes from the local authority in whose territory the
[single, not return] trip begins.

The idea was that people in Derby would be just as likely to go shopping
in Nottingham as people from Nottingham were in Derby, so the formers'
trip home being paid for by Nottingham would be balanced out by the
latters' trip home being paid for by Derby.

The unfairness complained about largely derives from "tourist
destinations" where they are lumbered with paying the fares back home
for a wide range of out-of-area day-trippers, whereas their own
residents have no reason to do a day-trip to the non-touristy areas from
which those others travel.

ps One of the main objectives of the scheme, which was to create a
modal-shift for retirees from car to bus has failed to be delivered. As
perhaps a realist might expect, the pass has mainly been used by
car-less people to avoid paying fares on the buses they were already
using, and take-up is massively skewed towards people who happen to
already live close to good bus services.

[1] such as:
<https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa
ds/attachment_data/file/669076/evaluation-of-concessionary-bus-travel.pdf
--
Roland Perry
Graeme Wall
2019-03-02 15:58:19 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Roland Perry
Post by Recliner
Post by Graham Harrison
I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.
With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.
All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?
While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
As I understand it, the bus company gets reimbursed (using a complicated
formula) by the local 'travel concession authorities’ (TCAs). In England
these are county, unitary and metropolitan authorities and the 33 London
councils, which collectively get a government formula grant talking about
£1bn. However, some TCAs make a loss and some a profit on this.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/7844371.stm
There's very little data there, other than the obvious "winners and
losers" hand-wringing.
Post by Recliner
In any case, your local TCA doesn't get billed for your use elsewhere in
England, and the bus company just needs to count the total number of
concessionary fares, not who issued the bus passes.
If you read the official reports[1] on the scheme, they are always
couched in terms of "boardings", not least because that's the only data
that's collected (people don't have to "touch-out").
Which is consistent with my recollection that the money which is sent to
the bus company comes from the local authority in whose territory the
[single, not return] trip begins.
The idea was that people in Derby would be just as likely to go shopping
in Nottingham as people from Nottingham were in Derby, so the formers'
trip home being paid for by Nottingham would be balanced out by the
latters' trip home being paid for by Derby.
The unfairness complained about largely derives from "tourist
destinations" where they are lumbered with paying the fares back home
for a wide range of out-of-area day-trippers, whereas their own
residents have no reason to do a day-trip to the non-touristy areas from
which those others travel.
ps One of the main objectives of the scheme, which was to create a
modal-shift for retirees from car to bus has failed to be delivered. As
perhaps a realist might expect, the pass has mainly been used by
car-less people to avoid paying fares on the buses they were already
using, and take-up is massively skewed towards people who happen to
already live close to good bus services.
Bit difficult to take it up if you haven't got a bus service.
--
Graeme Wall
This account not read.
Marland
2019-03-02 18:46:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Graeme Wall
Post by Roland Perry
Post by Recliner
Post by Graham Harrison
I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.
With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.
All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?
While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
As I understand it, the bus company gets reimbursed (using a complicated
formula) by the local 'travel concession authorities’ (TCAs). In England
these are county, unitary and metropolitan authorities and the 33 London
councils, which collectively get a government formula grant talking about
£1bn. However, some TCAs make a loss and some a profit on this.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/7844371.stm
There's very little data there, other than the obvious "winners and
losers" hand-wringing.
Post by Recliner
In any case, your local TCA doesn't get billed for your use elsewhere in
England, and the bus company just needs to count the total number of
concessionary fares, not who issued the bus passes.
If you read the official reports[1] on the scheme, they are always
couched in terms of "boardings", not least because that's the only data
that's collected (people don't have to "touch-out").
Which is consistent with my recollection that the money which is sent to
the bus company comes from the local authority in whose territory the
[single, not return] trip begins.
The idea was that people in Derby would be just as likely to go shopping
in Nottingham as people from Nottingham were in Derby, so the formers'
trip home being paid for by Nottingham would be balanced out by the
latters' trip home being paid for by Derby.
The unfairness complained about largely derives from "tourist
destinations" where they are lumbered with paying the fares back home
for a wide range of out-of-area day-trippers, whereas their own
residents have no reason to do a day-trip to the non-touristy areas from
which those others travel.
ps One of the main objectives of the scheme, which was to create a
modal-shift for retirees from car to bus has failed to be delivered. As
perhaps a realist might expect, the pass has mainly been used by
car-less people to avoid paying fares on the buses they were already
using, and take-up is massively skewed towards people who happen to
already live close to good bus services.
Bit difficult to take it up if you haven't got a bus service.
The one we once had started in Dorset ,briefly ran through Hampshire and
then into Wiltshire terminating in Salisbury. It was Dorset removing their
subsidy that killed it, first from twice a week down to one and then
completely. I can see their point of view in not wanting to subsidise a
service that took people out of the County to spend their money in a city
in Wiltshire and benefiting a few residents of Hampshire on the way though
I believe Hampshire did make a small contribution.
I was about the only person on it who paid.
After a gap a small operator now runs a the Hampshire bit -Salisbury on
Tuesdays which isn’t part of the national bus pass scheme. The number of
users seems to be about the same so occasionally it looks like the those
who hold a bus pass could afford to make a contribution, it would just cut
down on many who use their ENP for no more than a leisurely day out rather
than essential travel.

GH
MikeS
2019-03-02 18:35:28 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Roland Perry
ps One of the main objectives of the scheme, which was to create a
modal-shift for retirees from car to bus has failed to be delivered. As
perhaps a realist might expect, the pass has mainly been used by
car-less people to avoid paying fares on the buses they were already
using, and take-up is massively skewed towards people who happen to
already live close to good bus services.
<https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa
ds/attachment_data/file/669076/evaluation-of-concessionary-bus-travel.pdf
As already said, its difficult to use a bus pass if you don't "happen to
already live close to good bus services". When it comes to "creating a
modal-shift for retirees from car to bus" the same applies. If you want
people to switch from cars it is pointless to give them free travel
unless you first create the bus (or other) services to make it feasible.
This was the line Ken Livingston took in London long ago.

That is certainly my experience. I still drive my own car and before the
bus pass arrived rarely thought about using the excellent London bus
services. That has totally reversed for local journeys because having
tried the bus I quickly found that it is mostly easier and faster,
especially taking into account the usual cost and difficulty of parking
anywhere remotely close to your destination.

Sadly my experience outside Greater London is the opposite. Cashed
strapped county councils have spent years cutting bus subsidies so that
many living outside the main towns will soon have no alternative to
their own car or an expensive mini cab.
Roland Perry
2019-03-02 20:47:12 UTC
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Post by MikeS
Post by Roland Perry
ps One of the main objectives of the scheme, which was to create a
modal-shift for retirees from car to bus has failed to be delivered.
...
Post by MikeS
As already said, its difficult to use a bus pass if you don't "happen
to already live close to good bus services". When it comes to "creating
a modal-shift for retirees from car to bus" the same applies. If you
want people to switch from cars it is pointless to give them free
travel unless you first create the bus (or other) services to make it
feasible.
I wasn't very well thought through. Although it would have been a PR
disaster to only issue the passes to people in big cities.

But a bus an hour is enough to go out for the day - after all that's the
service on a great deal of the railways (outside of very big cities).
--
Roland Perry
John Williamson
2019-03-02 21:39:24 UTC
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Post by Roland Perry
But a bus an hour is enough to go out for the day - after all that's the
service on a great deal of the railways (outside of very big cities).
The problem in many villages is that the only buses you see are either
school contract vehicles, which do a run in to town in the morning and
come back out at about 4 pm, or a weekly service, which is usually on
market day, and lets you stay in town for three hours or so to do your
shopping.

Government cutbacks are now putting the weekly services under threat, as
the subsidies they rely on as "socially necessary services" are optional
and are being withdrawn all over England because councils can't afford them.

Other services that are going are ones in the suburbs outside core
hours, so the last bus which used to be at 23:00 or even later, now runs
at 20:00, or 21:00 on a Saturday.
--
Tciao for Now!

John.
Roland Perry
2019-03-04 16:15:47 UTC
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Permalink
Post by John Williamson
Post by Roland Perry
But a bus an hour is enough to go out for the day - after all that's
the service on a great deal of the railways (outside of very big
cities).
The problem in many villages is that the only buses you see are either
school contract vehicles, which do a run in to town in the morning and
come back out at about 4 pm, or a weekly service, which is usually on
market day, and lets you stay in town for three hours or so to do your
shopping.
I agree that's a problem for all potential bus users, but the size of
the market for such villages is so small (even if the fares were zero
for everyone) that the best solution is a community "dial a ride".
...
Post by John Williamson
Other services that are going are ones in the suburbs outside core
hours, so the last bus which used to be at 23:00 or even later, now
runs at 20:00, or 21:00 on a Saturday.
Ditto. If they are running almost empty, which they tend to, they are
easy prey.
--
Roland Perry
John Williamson
2019-03-04 16:50:33 UTC
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Post by Roland Perry
Post by John Williamson
The problem in many villages is that the only buses you see are either
school contract vehicles, which do a run in to town in the morning and
come back out at about 4 pm, or a weekly service, which is usually on
market day, and lets you stay in town for three hours or so to do your
shopping.
I agree that's a problem for all potential bus users, but the size of
the market for such villages is so small (even if the fares were zero
for everyone) that the best solution is a community "dial a ride".
..
Which the council can't or refuse to afford to run either. :-/

Public transport is an "optional service", which means that when money
is tight, as it has been for a while now, and getting tighter by the
year, councils cut it first, before things like meals on wheels,
community policing and councillors allowances.
--
Tciao for Now!

John.
Roland Perry
2019-03-04 20:36:35 UTC
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Permalink
Post by John Williamson
Post by Roland Perry
Post by John Williamson
The problem in many villages is that the only buses you see are
either school contract vehicles, which do a run in to town in the
morning and come back out at about 4 pm, or a weekly service, which
is usually on market day, and lets you stay in town for three hours
or so to do your shopping.
I agree that's a problem for all potential bus users, but the size
of the market for such villages is so small (even if the fares were
zero for everyone) that the best solution is a community "dial a ride".
..
Which the council can't or refuse to afford to run either. :-/
They are still going in Cambridgeshire, and someone mentioned a similar
service in Essex the other week. See the thread "TfL demand-responsive
bus trial".
--
Roland Perry
Someone Somewhere
2019-03-04 17:11:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Roland Perry
Post by John Williamson
Post by Roland Perry
But a bus an hour is enough to go out for the day - after all that's
the  service on a great deal of the railways (outside of very big
cities).
The problem in many villages is that the only buses you see are either
school contract vehicles, which do a run in to town in the morning and
come back out at about 4 pm, or a weekly service, which is usually on
market day, and lets you stay in town for three hours or so to do your
shopping.
I agree that's a problem for all potential bus users, but the size of
the market for such villages is so small (even if the fares were zero
for everyone) that the best solution is a community "dial a ride".
...
Post by John Williamson
Other services that are going are ones in the suburbs outside core
hours, so the last bus which used to be at 23:00 or even later, now
runs at 20:00, or 21:00 on a Saturday.
Ditto. If they are running almost empty, which they tend to, they are
easy prey.
What I've never quite understood is why no-one has started to join up
two things that are suffering for various reasons - public transport and
pubs. Particularly as use of the latter often requires the use of the
former.

Community dial-a-ride vehicles are often unused (or underused) in the
evenings, so why don't rural pubs subsidise them (or as a minimum help
organise a service) to use for carrying punters of an evening?

Often a small town can be surrounded by several villages and residents
of the villages may want a night out in town and vice versa (assuming
the nice village boozer hasn't shut down).

Even without pub subsidies, these are servicees that would attract a
fare that may make the "community" uses of such vehicles viable outside
of when they are doing the pub run.
Marland
2019-03-04 18:32:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Someone Somewhere
What I've never quite understood is why no-one has started to join up
two things that are suffering for various reasons - public transport and
pubs. Particularly as use of the latter often requires the use of the
former.
Community dial-a-ride vehicles are often unused (or underused) in the
evenings, so why don't rural pubs subsidise them (or as a minimum help
organise a service) to use for carrying punters of an evening?
Often a small town can be surrounded by several villages and residents
of the villages may want a night out in town and vice versa (assuming
the nice village boozer hasn't shut down).
Even without pub subsidies, these are servicees that would attract a
fare that may make the "community" uses of such vehicles viable outside
of when they are doing the pub run.
Very difficulty to cater for everyone ,some would like to drink to the
bitter end ((sorry) others would wish to leave earlier . Getting someone
willing to drive and clean the vehicle which would mean working till the
early hours will not be easy either, with the best intentions in the world
someone will make a fool of them seriously and be sick which means an
unattractive vehicle for the users next day .
And to be honest I don’t think there would be that much of a demand and in
addition pubs that would subsidise such a service would be rare. Those that
need such a service bringing half dozen or so customers
won’t be viable enough in the first place to support one.

There is the odd pub that has tried running their own minibus to take
customers home but the one that tried it
In a village near Southampton had to give up as the local authorities felt
they were providing an unlicensed taxi service.
And that was a pub that is buzzing anyway and not depending on some old
farts from Camra turning up.

They have hit a new niche now and specialise in catering for dog owners
with organised walks and dog friendly facilities.
http://www.compassinn.co.uk

That is how a pub survives now , finding a niche and getting known for
it,in this case so successfully that people with children have moaned that
they are less welcome than people with dogs.

All power to the pubs elbow then.

GH
Arthur Figgis
2019-03-02 17:48:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Graham Harrison
I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.
With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.
All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?
While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
Hang on - surely public transport in London is only ever used by people
who live in London, which is why it makes 100% perfect sense to do all
those "OUTRAGE as London gets GBP X per head spent on transport" reports
that make the provincials spill their Wetherspoons mild over their ferrets.
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
MikeS
2019-03-02 18:07:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 02/03/2019 17:48, Arthur Figgis wrote:
.
Post by Arthur Figgis
Hang on - surely public transport in London is only ever used by people
who live in London,
.
Which planet did you just beam in from?

London has vast numbers of visitors for both business and tourism. Most
of them whether from the UK or overseas use public transport within
London because it is the only sensible way to get around.

I know a fair number of UK older folk from outside London and they
always use their bus passes when in town. Their main complaint is that
they can only uses the buses for free whereas my Freedom pass is OK for
tube and suburban rail as well.
Recliner
2019-03-02 21:13:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by MikeS
.
Post by Arthur Figgis
Hang on - surely public transport in London is only ever used by people
who live in London,
.
Which planet did you just beam in from?
Planet Sarcasm
Post by MikeS
London has vast numbers of visitors for both business and tourism. Most
of them whether from the UK or overseas use public transport within
London because it is the only sensible way to get around.
I know a fair number of UK older folk from outside London and they
always use their bus passes when in town. Their main complaint is that
they can only uses the buses for free whereas my Freedom pass is OK for
tube and suburban rail as well.
Graeme Wall
2019-03-02 21:43:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Graham Harrison
I live in Somerset and hold a concessionary bus pass (a "twirly pass"
as some have it). When I visit London I sometimes buy a combined
paper/orange train ticket/Travelcard. On other occasions I will use my
bus pass.
With the Travelcard it can go through the gates but when I board a bus
I just show the driver the orange ticket. My bus pass works on readers
outside London but in London I'm back to simply showing my pass. The
driver seems to push a button when I show either pass.
All that set me wondering. He might have a "paper travelcard" button
but I find the idea that he has a "Somerset bus pass" button difficult
to believe if only because I doubt he has time to read "Somerset" on
the pass. How do TfL get paid for my use of TfL services when I'm
using either a paper travelcard or my bus pass? For that matter do
they get paid?
While I'm asking, one of my most frequent uses of my bus pass is in
and around Salisbury which, of course, is in Wiltshire. How do
Wiltshire get paid (do they get paid)?
Hang on - surely public transport in London is only ever used by people
who live in London, which is why it makes 100% perfect sense to do all
those "OUTRAGE as London gets GBP X per head spent on transport" reports
that make the provincials spill their Wetherspoons mild over their ferrets.
Wetherspoons do a mild now?
--
Graeme Wall
This account not read.
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