Pensioner campaigners hit back at calls to scrap bus passes

Pensioner campaigners hit back at calls to scrap bus passes

Pensioner campaigners hit back at calls to scrap bus passes

Don Harper

First published in News

SOUTHAMPTON pensioner campaigners last night hit back at calls to scrap OAPs’ free bus passes.

“The use of the free bus pass is a necessity,” is the response from the secretary of the Southampton Pensioners’ Forum to those people who felt that the concessionary bus scheme should be scrapped.

Don Harper’s comments came just 24 hours before the latest round of concessionary bus fares are about to be rubber-stamped by civic bosses in Southampton. On Saturday the Daily Echo revealed that some readers believe the scheme is to blame for operators being forced to axe loss-making services.

They also said it was unfair on feepaying customers such as those who are too young to afford any other form of travel but have to get to work.

Some called for wealthy elderly residents to have their bus passes taken away from them.

Southampton’s City Council is expected to approve £4.9m to cover the losses made by bus operators tomorrow.

Last week Hampshire transport bosses gave the go-ahead to a £13m subsidy.

Mr Harper said that for many people the bus pass is a lifeline and he added that there were only 40,000 pensioners paying 40 per cent tax.

“There are three million pensioners in this country living under the poverty line. The use of the free bus pass is a necessity otherwise you’re going to get people that are not able to get out.

“These people have got to remember that they’re going to be old.”

Over-60s are allowed to travel for free between at least 9.30am and 11pm on Mondays to Fridays, and during extended hours on weekends and bank holidays.

In Southampton, the expected £4.9m concessionary travel bill next year comes from reimbursing bus companies 48 per cent of all fees, as well as an additional flat charge for each journey started within the city boundary.

Much of the cash comes from government grants, but local authorities have to pick up additional costs if there is a higher-than-expected uptake, or the hours bus passes can be used are extended, as they are in Hampshire.

Government ministers have admitted bus passes for all could be axed in future after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith described them, along with free TV licences, as “anomalies” of the benefits system, and said they should be up for debate in future.

Comments (10)

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2:24pm Mon 12 Nov 12

AndyAndrews says...

This is a non-story. For once I believe a promise by this Governments not to touch bus passes before the next election, when they should be kicked out of power anyway.
This is a non-story. For once I believe a promise by this Governments not to touch bus passes before the next election, when they should be kicked out of power anyway. AndyAndrews
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Hdg end mo says...

Poor women waited an hour for the bus then two turned up
And the driver seams to be fiddling with something downstairs.
Poor women waited an hour for the bus then two turned up And the driver seams to be fiddling with something downstairs. Hdg end mo
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Mon 12 Nov 12

allison.luella says...

My mum cant even use her bus pass as there are buses in our area, and the ones that are, go all around the houses and not direct to town!!
My mum cant even use her bus pass as there are buses in our area, and the ones that are, go all around the houses and not direct to town!! allison.luella
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Mon 12 Nov 12

ohec says...

I really don't think that a token fee of 50p per journey is asking too much, its not as if you have to use the buses everyday the whole idea of the bus pass scheme was to ensure that OAPs were not trapped indoors so as long as you can get out a couple of times a week at a cost of £2 i think it is reasonable.
I really don't think that a token fee of 50p per journey is asking too much, its not as if you have to use the buses everyday the whole idea of the bus pass scheme was to ensure that OAPs were not trapped indoors so as long as you can get out a couple of times a week at a cost of £2 i think it is reasonable. ohec
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Vonnie says...

ohec wrote:
I really don't think that a token fee of 50p per journey is asking too much, its not as if you have to use the buses everyday the whole idea of the bus pass scheme was to ensure that OAPs were not trapped indoors so as long as you can get out a couple of times a week at a cost of £2 i think it is reasonable.
And how are you to do your shopping etc?. Bus passes in the main are not used for leisure but to do the ordinary every day things that younger people take for granted. Younger people who are not being forced to live on the breadline - heat or eat style.
Many better off OAP's still pay income tax on their pensions, so they are still contributing. Those that are on the basic pension have contributed all their working lives, some for
more than fifty years.
The bus pass system works admirably on the Continent mainly because each country organises and pays for it nationaly, not locally, so why does it cause such emotion here. One phrase for that, "ignorance of the issues involved." Add that to the greed of some of the bus companies and I think you have the answer.
[quote][p][bold]ohec[/bold] wrote: I really don't think that a token fee of 50p per journey is asking too much, its not as if you have to use the buses everyday the whole idea of the bus pass scheme was to ensure that OAPs were not trapped indoors so as long as you can get out a couple of times a week at a cost of £2 i think it is reasonable.[/p][/quote]And how are you to do your shopping etc?. Bus passes in the main are not used for leisure but to do the ordinary every day things that younger people take for granted. Younger people who are not being forced to live on the breadline - heat or eat style. Many better off OAP's still pay income tax on their pensions, so they are still contributing. Those that are on the basic pension have contributed all their working lives, some for more than fifty years. The bus pass system works admirably on the Continent mainly because each country organises and pays for it nationaly, not locally, so why does it cause such emotion here. One phrase for that, "ignorance of the issues involved." Add that to the greed of some of the bus companies and I think you have the answer. Vonnie
  • Score: 0

5:03pm Mon 12 Nov 12

sotonbusdriver says...

Vonnie wrote:
ohec wrote:
I really don't think that a token fee of 50p per journey is asking too much, its not as if you have to use the buses everyday the whole idea of the bus pass scheme was to ensure that OAPs were not trapped indoors so as long as you can get out a couple of times a week at a cost of £2 i think it is reasonable.
And how are you to do your shopping etc?. Bus passes in the main are not used for leisure but to do the ordinary every day things that younger people take for granted. Younger people who are not being forced to live on the breadline - heat or eat style.
Many better off OAP's still pay income tax on their pensions, so they are still contributing. Those that are on the basic pension have contributed all their working lives, some for
more than fifty years.
The bus pass system works admirably on the Continent mainly because each country organises and pays for it nationaly, not locally, so why does it cause such emotion here. One phrase for that, "ignorance of the issues involved." Add that to the greed of some of the bus companies and I think you have the answer.
Having worked for many years on the buses, many OAP's have voiced they would be more than happy to pay a contribution to the fare...
If there was levels of bus passes, means tested properly, then it would be a fairer system...
Those on higher state, and private pensions, pay something, and those solely on low state pensions go free..
Many pensions qualify for mobility elements of DLA, and therefor get a payment towards travel, and carer to travel with them.
[quote][p][bold]Vonnie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ohec[/bold] wrote: I really don't think that a token fee of 50p per journey is asking too much, its not as if you have to use the buses everyday the whole idea of the bus pass scheme was to ensure that OAPs were not trapped indoors so as long as you can get out a couple of times a week at a cost of £2 i think it is reasonable.[/p][/quote]And how are you to do your shopping etc?. Bus passes in the main are not used for leisure but to do the ordinary every day things that younger people take for granted. Younger people who are not being forced to live on the breadline - heat or eat style. Many better off OAP's still pay income tax on their pensions, so they are still contributing. Those that are on the basic pension have contributed all their working lives, some for more than fifty years. The bus pass system works admirably on the Continent mainly because each country organises and pays for it nationaly, not locally, so why does it cause such emotion here. One phrase for that, "ignorance of the issues involved." Add that to the greed of some of the bus companies and I think you have the answer.[/p][/quote]Having worked for many years on the buses, many OAP's have voiced they would be more than happy to pay a contribution to the fare... If there was levels of bus passes, means tested properly, then it would be a fairer system... Those on higher state, and private pensions, pay something, and those solely on low state pensions go free.. Many pensions qualify for mobility elements of DLA, and therefor get a payment towards travel, and carer to travel with them. sotonbusdriver
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Mon 12 Nov 12

memush says...

News must have been in short supply on Saturday for the editor to use this old chestnut to stir up discussion.
News must have been in short supply on Saturday for the editor to use this old chestnut to stir up discussion. memush
  • Score: 0

10:04am Sat 24 Nov 12

bairdheatherset says...

Could be a saving if the bus passes were limited to seniors at 65+.

Therefore, whoever applied previously at 60+ their passes would phase out on renewal until the age of 65, when they could apply again?
Could be a saving if the bus passes were limited to seniors at 65+. Therefore, whoever applied previously at 60+ their passes would phase out on renewal until the age of 65, when they could apply again? bairdheatherset
  • Score: 0

10:04am Sat 24 Nov 12

bairdheatherset says...

Could be a saving if the bus passes were limited to seniors at 65+.

Therefore, whoever applied previously at 60+ their passes would phase out on renewal until the age of 65, when they could apply again?
Could be a saving if the bus passes were limited to seniors at 65+. Therefore, whoever applied previously at 60+ their passes would phase out on renewal until the age of 65, when they could apply again? bairdheatherset
  • Score: 0

10:04am Sat 24 Nov 12

bairdheatherset says...

Could be a saving if the bus passes were limited to seniors at 65+.

Therefore, whoever applied previously at 60+ their passes would phase out on renewal until the age of 65, when they could apply again?
Could be a saving if the bus passes were limited to seniors at 65+. Therefore, whoever applied previously at 60+ their passes would phase out on renewal until the age of 65, when they could apply again? bairdheatherset
  • Score: 0

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