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Closed petition Extend the older person's bus pass to cover free train travel

We want the Government to extend the older person's bus pass so that once you reach the State Pension age you are entitled to free bus and train travel across the whole country.

More details

Pensioners can become isolated and stuck at home after retirement, with many not being able to afford the high cost of train travel. A change to extend the older person's pass for bus travel to cover train travel would allow for easier travel across the country, enabling long day trips and other travel, which we believe would greatly enhance their mental wellbeing, by making it easier for them to get out of the house and travel to meet others and visit other places.

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Government responded

This response was given on 9 October 2023

To help make train journeys more affordable, individuals aged 60 and over are eligible for the Senior Railcard which offers a third off rail travel.

The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) provides free off-peak bus travel to those with eligible disabilities and those of state pension age, currently sixty-six, within England.

Local concessionary travel costs around £1 billion annually and any changes to the minimum statutory scheme, such as free travel on rail, would therefore need to be carefully considered for their impact on the scheme’s financial sustainability.

Local authorities in England have the power to go beyond their statutory obligations, such as offering free travel on rail as part of the ENCTS pass.

Our most recent set of statistics shows that operators in 11 out of 84 travel concession authority areas in England offered some form of discounted rail travel for the older person's concessionary pass.

The scope of any additional discretionary concessions provided and supported by a local authority is available to journeys originating or ending in the authority’s local area or in the vicinity of the authority's area, unless specific arrangements between neighbouring local authorities have been agreed.

Any additional discretionary concessions provided to ENCTS pass holders by the local authority is funded from local resources such as Business Rates and residents’ Council Tax and not Central Government.

Currently, the Government has no plans to extend ENCTS to other modes of transport.

To help make train journeys more affordable, individuals aged 60 and over are eligible for the Senior Railcard which offers a third off rail travel. The Senior Railcard costs £30.00 for one year or £70.00 for three years.

UK taxpayers contributed £31 billion in 2020/21 and 2021/22 to the day-to-day costs of the railway, ensuring stability for staff and avoiding job losses during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, the government was contributing over £4 billion per annum for day-to-day operations. It is important now to put rail finances on a sustainable footing in a way that is fair to passengers and taxpayers in the challenging economic climate we currently face.

Department for Transport

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/635105

Petitions Committee requests a revised response from the Government

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) have considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt that the response did not directly address the request of petition and have therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response.

When the Committee have received a revised response from the Government, this will be published on the website and you will receive an email. If you would not like to receive further updates about this petition, you can unsubscribe below.

Original Government response

To help make train journeys more affordable, individuals aged 60 and over are eligible for the Senior Railcard which offers a third off rail travel.

• The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) provides free off-peak bus travel to those with eligible disabilities and those of state pension age, currently sixty-six, within England.

• Local concessionary travel costs around £1 billion annually and any changes to the minimum statutory scheme, such as free travel on rail, would therefore need to be carefully considered for their impact on the scheme’s financial sustainability.

• Local authorities in England have the power to go beyond their statutory obligations, such as offering free travel on rail as part of the ENCTS pass.

• Our most recent set of statistics shows that operators in 11 out of 84 travel concession authority areas in England offered some form of discounted rail travel for the older person's concessionary pass.

• The scope of any additional discretionary concessions provided and supported by a local authority is available to journeys originating or ending in the authority’s local area or in the vicinity of the authority's area, unless specific arrangements between neighbouring local authorities have been agreed.

• Any additional discretionary concessions provided to ENCTS pass holders by the local authority is funded from local resources such as Business Rates and residents’ Council Tax and not Central Government.

• To help make train journeys more affordable, individuals aged 60 and over are eligible for the Senior Railcard which offers a third off rail travel. The Senior Railcard costs £30.00 for one year or £70.00 for three years.

• UK taxpayers contributed £31 billion in 2020/21 and 2021/22 to the day-to-day costs of the railway, ensuring stability for staff and avoiding job losses during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, the government was contributing over £4 billion per annum for day-to-day operations. It is important now to put rail finances on a sustainable footing in a way that is fair to passengers and taxpayers in the challenging economic climate we currently face.

Department for Transport.

This response was given on j23 August 2023. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.