Green Paper to the Transport and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Commission
6th November 2007
English National Concessionary Fare Scheme
Report of the Head of Streetscene
1. Purpose of the Briefing Note and Summary
1.1 The purpose of this Green Paper is to advise the Commission about changes
that will have to be made to the Council’s Concessionary Fares Scheme from
1st April 2008 because of the introduction of the English National
Concessionary Fare Scheme. It also asks members of the Commission to
consider whether the Council should continue with existing discretionary
aspects of the current Concessionary Fare Scheme.
2. Main Body of Green Paper
2.1 Currently the National Concessionary Fare Scheme requires a Travel
Concession Authority to provide free travel within their administrative area for
persons aged 60 years or over and certain categories of persons with a
disability between the hours of 9.30 am to 11.00 pm weekdays and all day
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
2.2 The City Council Concessionary Fare Scheme however permits free travel
on bus services operating wholly within the City throughout the day, every
day and from bus stops within the City direct to Castle Hill Hospital. The
scheme also allows concessionary travel pass holders to travel by bus
services at half the adult single or return fare from their boarding stop in Hull
direct to any bus stop in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council area and to
York or Scarborough. Pass holders can also use their pass to purchase a
Standard Day Return or Cheap Day Return rail ticket at a 50% reduction or a
reduction of 34% on a Standard Single, Saver or Super Saver Period Return
ticket from Hull Paragon Station booking office to any station within the East
Riding of Yorkshire and to York and Scarborough. Some residents of the City
may also qualify for free bus and rail travel to points within the East Riding
and York and Scarborough (Concessionary Travel PLUS). Details of
eligibility are shown in the table below. Travel passes can also be used for
Dial a Ride Services in the City.
Concessionary Travel Concessionary Travel PLUS
~60 years or over Registered as
~War pensioner ~Blind
~Medically unfit to drive ~Profoundly deaf
~Registered as physically ~Have severe learning
handicapped, have learning difficulties
difficulties or are partially ~Limbless
2.3 Passes are issued at Customer Service Centres around the City and are
valid for five years. All passes are issued free of charge, as this is required
by statute. The passes have the holders image printed on them and are used
as a flashcard. Currently there are in excess of 39,000 valid passes issued to
residents of the City.
2.4 It is estimated the cost of operating the Concessionary Travel Scheme in the
current financial year will be £4.47M, of which £80K is attributed to rail travel,
£107K to Dial a Ride services and £200K for allowing free travel throughout
the day as a discretion, every day rather than applying the time limits set out
in the national scheme.
2.5 The new English National Concessionary Fare Scheme will allow pass
holders to travel free of charge on all local bus services within England
between 9.30 am and 11.00 pm weekdays and all day Saturdays, Sundays
and Bank Holidays. Travel Concession Authorities will again have
discretionary powers to extend the scheme as they so wish.
2.6 All existing passes will have to be reissued as the Department for Transport
has determined that all passes should be of the same design nationally
marked with details of the individual issuing authority. As the Council already
has an extensive database of pass holders details there has been no
requirement to ask them to reapply. The passes will also be a smartcard but
until all bus ticket issuing equipment has the capability of reading
smartcards, the passes can be used as flashcards. It is expected that initially
passes used for journeys within Hull will be used as flashcards. The
Department for Transport is in the process of making a cash grant for the
cost of reissuing passes. The issue of smartcards also gives each issuing
authority the ability to include other Council services, such as library tickets.
2.7 In order to assist Travel Concession Authorities to undertake the massive
exercise of reissuing passes the Department for Transport has set up a
number of framework agreements for the purchase of smartcards and back
office issuing services. Discussions are now taking place as to whether the
Council should reissue passes in house through the Customer Service
Centres or use one of the framework suppliers.
2.8 Authorities will still be responsible for negotiating reimbursements to the local
bus service operators unlike in Wales and Scotland where there is a
standard formula in place for concessionary travel reimbursements for their
own national schemes. And, as the country’s bus operators will not all be
smartcard compliant, each authority will be responsible for reimbursing all
journeys that commence in their area. So, the City Council will be
responsible for reimbursing the cost of East Riding pass holders returning
home. In recognition of this the Department of Transport will pay an annual
cash grant for the next three years. After that it will be formula funded as part
of the annual settlement.
3.1 Area Committees and this Commission will be consulted as part the
consultation process for a report that will be presented to Cabinet in
3.2 Government, in advance of changes to legislation being made have consulted
with local authorities and other interest groups. This consultation has
continued with the type of pass to be issued and the method of reimbursement
for additional journeys that will be made.
4.1 In determining the final scheme to be introduced in April 2008, Members of the
Commission are asked to give guidance on whether they feel existing
discretionary elements of the Council’s current Concessionary Fare scheme
should still apply.
4.2 As pass holders will be able to travel to all points in the East Riding, York and
Scarborough by bus free of charge, they will select that mode of travel rather
than paying a discounted fare by train, so there is an option to remove from
the scheme the opportunity to travel by train.
4.3 Research undertaken in 2004 as part of a review of the council’s
Concessionary Fare Scheme identified that only 12.66% of all concessionary
journeys made in the City were before 9.30 am. This would suggest the
scheme could be brought into line with the proposed English National
Concessionary Fare Scheme without affecting too many residents and
ensuring the scheme is still affordable. Additional research is currently
underway to establish whether the current situation is comparable.
5. Council Priorities
5.1 The Concessionary Fare Scheme enables older people and the disabled to
travel free of charge within the City. Its extension throughout England will
provide an additional benefit and improves the quality of life for these groups.
Additional use of public transport reduces traffic congestion and the amount of
6. Conclusions and Next Steps
6.1 Whilst research is continuing to be undertaken on the likely number of
passengers who will board bus services in the city and who the Council will
be responsible for the reimbursement of their fare, it is at the current time,
difficult to estimate what the likely cost to the Council will be until the
Department for Transport consultation on the special grant concludes in late
November. A number of reimbursement options have been suggested with
the difference within the range of options being £200K. Factors to be taken
into account include the number of pass holders from other areas who will
be travelling and any growth that will be instrumental on the introduction of
free travel outside of the City.
6.2 Currently 83% of all residents in the City eligible for concessionary travel
have applied for a pass. That suggests that the growth in journeys made
after the introduction of the English National Concessionary Fare Scheme in
April may not be as great in the City as it may be in other areas. But
because of the uncertainty of this and the number of pass holders beginning
journeys in the City it may be prudent not to apply any discretionary
additions to the new scheme, particularly as central government funding is
only for the national scheme.
6.3 There is an opportunity with the introduction of Smartcards to open up
further the e agenda in the City and this should be welcomed. Some initial
discussions about including library tickets on the Smartcard have taken
place and these will continue.
Head of Streetscene
Contact Officer : Graham Hall
Telephone No. : 612003
(i) Hull and East Riding Concessionary Fares Review 2004
(ii) Department for Transport Concessionary Fares Bulletins
25th October 2007