Rising car use and cuts to public funding are being blamed for a loss of 134 million miles of coverage over the past decade alone.
Some cut-off communities have taken to starting their own services, with Wales and north-west England hardest hit.
The government has encouraged councils and bus companies to work together to halt the decline.
One lobbying group fears the scale of the miles lost are a sign buses are on course to be cut to the same extent railways were in the 1960s.
During that decade thousands of miles of track were scrapped and hundreds of stations closed following a report by British Railways Board chairman Dr Richard Beeching.
Chris Todd, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We are not talking a loss of that level, but we are heading that way.
“We live in a society that is quite prepared to completely abandon certain groups of people and leave them with no options of getting around.”
Communities around the UK say the shrinking bus network is leaving people unable to reach basic services such as shops and GP surgeries.
Our comment: How much bigger might the decline in services be without the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme which was introduced nationally in 1908 ? Crises of viability of local bus services throughout England are likely to have arisen from one end of the country to the other.
read more on detailed BBC report
A pensioner is calling for a change in the rules after a friend, who suffers from dementia, was refused a bus ride for losing her pass.
David Hall and pal Margaret were hoping to catch the Fastrack B bus to Dartford town centre on August 4, when they were told the 80-year-old was not allowed on.
The grandmother-of-six had lost her bus pass, which entitles her to free travel, earlier in the week and had visited Dartford Library to buy a new one
She was told the new pass would not arrive for two to three weeks so kept hold of her receipt and had been using it as proof of payment to travel on other buses.
Mr Hall, 75, said: “The bus driver said she wasn’t insured to be on the bus.
Lanacshire Village celebrates
A £1MILLION boost to the bus network in Lancashire has been hailed as ‘fabulous news’ in a village that lost its service.
The new administration at Lancashire County Council has committed to increase the budget to support bus services from £2m to £3m.
A key priority is to restore lost links between communities, particularly in rural areas.
That was the case for about eight months in Sabden, where villagers without access to a car were effectively ‘stranded’’ in 2016.
Other plans include increasing the frequency of services on routes where there is more demand and stabilising the network to support routes that might otherwise disappear.
A GROUP of elderly people feel ‘victimised’ and ‘trapped’ after being forced to pay £1 a day for a formerly free bus.
Pensioners who rely on the number 22 Grant Palmer shopping service bus from into Bedford town are now forced to pay £1 each weekday morning, despite being able to use it for free just a week and a half ago.
This is because Bedford Borough Council is now charging the elderly and disabled with concessionary passes who use the bus before 9.30am , which came into force on February 1.
The scheme was introduced to save the council £100,000 a year in light of what portfolio holder for finance, Michael Headley described as ‘punishing government cuts’.
The council previously claimed single service buses would not be affected by the charges.
Read more at http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/pensioners-feel-victimised-by-1-charge-for-their-only-bus-to-town/story-30127613-detail/story.html#5myR6bIrWiWRyzHY.99
The age at which Scots qualify for a free bus pass could be set to rise.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government would hold a consultation on changes to the national concession travel scheme.
He wants to extend it to Modern Apprentices and those on Job Grants and said people who already had passes would retain them.
But he said ministers had to look at the “long-term sustainability” of offering all those over 60 free travel.
The Scotland-wide free bus pass entitlement scheme was introduced in 2006.
The card allows passengers, aged over 60 or disabled, to travel free on local, registered or scheduled long-distance services.
The transport minister has said a public consultation on changes to the current system will be held.
However, he insisted that current holders of the passes would be unaffected.
Mr Yousaf told BBC Scotland: “If you’ve got a free bus pass you will continue to have that free bus pass and continue to be able to use that pass in the way that you currently are.
“What we have said is that we want to extend the national travel scheme to Modern Apprentices, to those on a Job Grant, so that some young people, that are in the most need, can also benefit.
“But clearly people are living longer, they are staying in work longer – which are all good things – but it does add a pressure.
Comment just received (August 2016) from a bus pass holder:
“Between 31/6/16 and 2/8/16. Myself and five of my friends went to London, as we have done for the last three years. The problem this year we were unable to use our “oap” free bus passes issued by West Midlands Authority, which we used without problems in the past. We were told we must buy an oyster card.
The same issue is reported to us repeatedly:
LONDON BUS DRIVERS REFUSING VALID BUS PASSES
Valid Bus Passes being refused in London & elsewhere.>
We have raised this with Transport for London several times, and nothing improves. It is very embarrasing for people to be refused what they are entitled to. Our recommendation is to stand your ground and make the bus driver sweat. There is life outside London ! Perhaps we should arrange a march on GLC HQ?
Councillors Andy Kelly and Irene Davidson are campaigning against cuts to the 182 bus service between Rochdale and the Royal Oldham Hospital
A campaign has been launched against ‘draconian’ cuts to a bus service between Rochdale and the Royal Oldham Hospital.
Day time off peak 182 services are to be scrapped from Monday.
Operator First says it’s due to falling passenger numbers.
But campaigner say the service, which begins and ends at the interchange in Rochdale town centre and travels through Milnrow, Newhey, Shaw, Royton and the Royal Oldham Hospital to Manchester, is vital for patients and pensioners.
A fed-up bus company has hit out at unruly PENSIONERS who are barging and shoving their way onto a popular service.
Elderly passengers are being reminded about queuing etiquette after a spate of complaints about them “piling on” to the double-decker.
The ‘Perbeck Breezer’ – which runs from Bournemouth to Swanage in Dorset – is regarded as one of Britain’s most scenic services.
But pensioners desperate to BAG the best seats for the 12-mile route have been shoving their way through the doors.
The open-topped bus service has been nicknamed the ‘Perbeck Wheezer’ because of the age of most of its passengers. One child was nearly knocked off his feet by a PENSIONER armed with a free bus pass who was desperate to board.
Another passenger had to console his five-year-old son when an elderly man beat him to the front seat on the top deck.
Both West Berkshire and Reading pensioners lose out in the changes to bus pass concessions resulting from a subsidy cut by West Berkshire Council
A cut in West Berkshire Council’s subsidy to free pensioner bus passes will mean a different deal for passengers living in Reading and West Berkshire in future.
Although Reading’s concessionary bus passes are unchanged, the West Berkshire changes mean Reading concessionary bus passes will only be valid on buses boarded in West Berkshire after 9.30am from this Sunday, May 1.
Reading pass holders are being given advanced warning of the change, which comes after West Berkshire Council withdrew its subsidy and reverted to the National Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme.
It means free travel for concessionary pass holders boarding buses in West Berkshire will only be allowed after 9.30am.
In Reading borough, the ability to use concessionary passes from 9am is still in place.
The changes being implemented by West Berkshire Council from Sunday, May 1 will also affect companion pass holders who will no longer be able to travel for free on a bus in West Berkshire at any time.
This means a Reading companion pass holder and their companion boarding a bus in Reading borough can both travel for free to places like Sainsbury’s in Calcot for example, or to Newbury.
Following on with our recent post about using a bus pass in London we’d like to do our bit to assist visitors to the capital with as much useful information as possible. This is what the Transport for London website says :
Concessionary bus passes from outside London
If you’re from outside London and have a bus pass issued by another English council, you can use it, at any time, to travel free on buses displaying the red roundel.
You should show your pass to the driver; at the moment they can’t be read by the yellow card readers. If the bus you’re on doesn’t display the red roundel, check with the driver if you can use it; most will let you travel free between 09:30 and 23:00 on weekdays, and at any time on weekends and public holidays.
English National Concessionary Passes issued by English councils outside London can’t be used on Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail or National Rail services.”
If it helps you could print off this copy of an extract from the pagein case the bus driver doesn’t understand. Or maybe print off this briefer version
Big Red Bus Pass WARNING
If you are thinking of visiting London and using your Bus Pass then please be aware that some drivers are refusing to recognise the pass and will not let you travel. Following on from the introduction of the Oyster card buses no longer accept cash and this has caused some difficulties for Bus Pass holders who live outside London. The Pensioners Free Bus Pass is a national system and pensioners should not be penalised because of the failure of Transport for London. In this respect we have reported the this issue but so far no department seems willing to accept responsibility for resolving the issue.
Any bus pass issued in England is valid on buses anywhere in England, and that includes London – they are easy to recognise as they carry the red rose symbol: –
We have written to the Freedom Pass Office who passed us on to the John O’Donovan, Customer Service Representative, Transport for London, who passed us on to ENQUIRY.TUBE@tfl.gov.uk whose reply is awaited. (this does not relate to tube travel, but that’s who we were referred on to.
Failing this our next step will be to take this up with Boris
Contents of our email are:
“We’ve received a sudden spate of comments about bus drivers in London not accepting valid bus passes issued outside London. e.g.
Submitted on 2016/03/30 at 1:24 am
“I have had this problem in London on route 142 coming back to Watford from Burnt Oak.I have the yellow band disabled pass.One driver said he hadn’t seen one before one nearly threw me off the bus,in london some drivers do not want to except this pass.Mine is issued in Buckinghamshire and told the driver this.
TFL need to enable these ITSO passes on their oyster readers but do not look to be in any hurry,the driver normally pushes a button or similar on the machine.As route 142 operates outside grater London into Hertfordshire they should be aware of these passes but are reluctant,I have never had a problem between Watford and Burnt Oak however on the return journey there can be problems.”
Submitted on 2016/03/23 at 10:54 am:
“Some bus drivers are turning into despicable creatures.
I was in Oxford Street, when the driver was collecting the money, and telling passengers that he will issue the tickets in “a minute”. He never did, and obviously pocketed the money. Driver was Eastern European.
Two weeks ago, I was travelling from Esher, in Surrey on the 458 bus, to Kingston upon Thames.
The driver charged a disabled 82 year old pensioner, giving a flimsy excuse. I suggested to the old Lady to report him, as she was rather shocked.”
“Submitted on 2016/03/19 at 4:13 pm
I have just shown my bus pass issued in Cheshire on a london bus it was refused. Why was this”
Have you had an experience like this – if so please let us know. We understand that bus drivers have a difficult job – it is down to TFL managment to ensure that bus drivers are properly instructed.
The number of bus passenger journeys has fallen in two-thirds of English council areas over the past six years, prompting concern over funding cuts and fare hikes.
BBC News found that out of 89 transport authority areas, just 29 reported a rise in the number of passenger trips.
Campaigners blamed government cuts and said there was a “danger of whole networks of bus services being lost”.
The government said it was investing £250m into bus services this year.
The biggest percentage drop was in Redcar and Cleveland where figures showed 27% fewer bus journeys made in 2014-15 compared with 2009-10.
It meant numbers were down from 5.7 to 4.1 million journeys, according to official Department for Transport figures.