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Bus concessions debate for £2.3m saving
7:59am Monday 9th December 2013 in News
Proposals to change concessionary bus passes and supported bus services will be discussed at an upcoming council cabinet meeting.
East Sussex County Council’s cabinet will consider proposals tomorrow to establish a Public Transport Services Commissioning Strategy, which will examine the future of supported bus travel in the county.
It is also being asked to consider additional changes to how bus services are provided by the council which needs to make a saving of £2.23 million from its transport budget over the next three years.
One of the changes being considered is to move the start time from which people can use their concessionary bus passes from 9am to 9.30am, bringing the county in line with the rest of the country.
Steve Thornett, publicity officer for the East Sussex Seniors Association, said: “From my personal perspective I think it’s a shame we are losing it but at the same time I think we have all got to realise it should only affect quite a small number of people who want to use it for that half hour.
“Of course we would like to see it remain but I think there are other things happening, many of which we would want to see con- tinue like the day care centres – these are bigger issues than the half hour for the bus pass.”
The cabinet will also look at removing the an old concession allowing concessionary pass holders in Lewes to travel for free on dial-a-ride services as well as holding a consultation on changing the eligibility criteria for companion passes which allow disabled people who need help travelling to be accompanied by another person travelling free of charge.
Increasing the charge to replace a lost concessionary pass from £5 to £10 will also be looked into.
The proposals come following a public consultation on bus services in the summer to which the council received 2,647 responses of which 65% were aged over 60.
Only 28% of bus pass holders said changing the start time to 9.30am would have a negative impact on them.
The council has already saved £227,000 from its transport budget – 40% of the £570,000 it needs to save in 2014-15 – by retendering supported bus services in Lewes and setting up a new joint contract with West Sussex County Council to administer the concessionary fare scheme.
The council expects its latest proposals to allow a further £243,000 to be saved.
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