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LAB plan to give free bus travel to those of 25 and younger

April 12th, 2018

But is it more about municipalising buses than helping the young?

It is being reported that Corbyn’s Labour is planning a big measure to help those under 25 if it should win the next election with transport costs. The plan is to offer a free bus pass to those in that age group which can be used on those services which are wholly or partly provided by public bodies.

But there’s a catch. The objective appears to be more about encouraging local authorities to run their own services and the pass won’t apply to private services where there is no public financial support.

    So you can see a lot of confusion as it is not a direct parallel to the existing oldie bus scheme. Most people don’t know whether particular bus gets public support or not.

As an oldie who has been benefiting from the senior travel scheme since I was 60 I think there’s be a lot of merit in this if it was for all buses.

It might be recalled that in the run-up to the general election that never was in October 2007 Gordon Brown introduced a national, England, bus pass scheme for the elderly. There is a standard identification card and a standard set of rules that allow olders to travel on bus services anywhere within England.

Until getting my senior bus pass I hardly ever got on one but now I use them an enormous amount simply because it is so convenient and so much easier because you don’t have to be fiddling into your pockets to find the change to buy a ticket.

It was interesting that the Conservatives have never moved against the very costly Gordon Brown bus pass scheme although the age requirement has been aged up to the mid 60s.

One of the arguments for that scheme was that it provided a revenue stream that helped support many bus services that would otherwise not have existed. Clearly the more traffic there is the more buses there are likely to be.

The YouGov polling featured in the chart above from January shows that those sampled thought doing something about bus fares could be the best way of helping the least well off.

The Tories themselves have recognised how important travel costs are and made a move last year to extend the age range of the young person’s rail pass which knocks 1/3 off ticket costs subject to certain conditions.

I’m in Sussex writing this while riding on a Stagecoach with my bus pass.

Mike Smithson