Category Archives: rail travel

Seniors to travel free on Tyneside & Wearside Metro system this summer

Older and some disabled people will be able to travel on the Metro for free all day this summer.

Metro operator Nexus will – during July and August – lift the restriction on holders of the Metro Gold Card, which normally prevents them from using the card before 9.30am on weekdays.

The offer starts tomorrow, with the normal all day arrangements continuing at weekends and bank holidays.

Nexus’ director of finance and resources, John Fenwick, said: “This is a great special offer that we have run for the last few years, allowing Gold Card holders the chance to travel all day on Metro over the summer.

“We can do this in July and August because there are far fewer students using Metro and there are generally less commuters than at other times of the year.

“It’s an offer that encourages people with Gold Cards to use Metro for days out. It is ideal for grandparents taking their grandchildren out over the summer holidays for days out.”

Read more: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/older-people-to-travel-free-all-day-on-tyne-and-wear-metro-this-summer-1-7989801#ixzz4DGzpUV4n
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Lowest-paid Londoners ‘spending 10 per cent of their wages on travel costs’

The capital’s lowest paid workers are spending 10p in every £1 they earn on getting to work in central London, a report claimed today.

People with cleaning jobs and other manual work in hotels and offices in Zone 1 are disproportionately affected by rising transport costs and often already struggle with high housing and living costs.

The report, Living on the Edge, by London Councils, London TravelWatch and the Trust for London, found that high travel costs were a problem for all workers in the capital.

Londoners spend an average of seven per cent of their monthly income on travel — around £100 — while one in five said they went to work via the cheapest route rather than the shortest or most convenient.

The report said Londoners need to work for an average of 44 minutes a day to cover daily commuting costs, rising to 54 minutes for those earning £200 to £599 a month and one hour and 56 minutes for those earning less than £200 a month.

The report suggested concessionary fares for low-income workers, reintroducing off-peak travelcards for people on flexible working hours and making it easier to get season ticket loans.


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Revolutionary proposals for public transport in N East England

The North East Combined Authority has voted for a plan which could give councils power over when and how often bus services run in Tyne and Wear.

Quality Contract Scheme: What will changes to the bus system in Tyne and Wear mean for you?

The North East Combined Authority has voted for a plan which could give councils power over when and how often bus services run in Tyne and Wear

What is a QCS?

A Quality Contract Scheme is a legal power over bus services by a council. In this case, the North East Combined Authority will set ticket prices, routes and timetables across Tyne and Wear and on some routes in and out of County Durham and Northumberland. NECA will also decide what types of buses are used. Nexus, the public body which devised this scheme and currently manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, will collect fares and pay bus companies to provide bus services through contracts. This is a big change to the present market, where buses companies decide on prices and routes.
What is wrong with the current system?

NECA believes a QCS will be better than leaving things as they are. It argues people are put off using buses because fares have gone up on average 3% more than inflation for a decade. Today, councils pay bus operators to provide less-used bus services, and subsidise some fares – as well as funding the free bus pass for older and disabled people. This adds up to £56m-a-year in Tyne and Wear, money is running short and the cost of the free bus pass – which councils must pay by law – is growing, meaning that the other bus services councils pay for will have to be withdrawn.
So, everyone agrees it is great?

Not exactly. The bus companies – mostly Stagecoach, Arriva and Go-Ahead – strongly disagree with the move and recommended a voluntary system that gives them more freedom. They say a QCS a “huge gamble” that could lead to higher fares, worse services and higher tax bills in the long run.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, also has “serious concerns”. He said profitable services in urban Tyne and Wear subsidise the rural bus network in Northumberland and County Durham. He is worried that subsidy would dry up under the new QCS.


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Our comment: Not difficult to see why the bus companies don’t like the idea ! Residents who live outside Tyne & Wear may stand to get a better deal on access to the Metro system ?

Using a bus pass in London

Bus Pass holders planning a visit to London ask us very frequently ‘Can I use my bus pass in London?’ to which our reply is always ‘Yes you can if your bus pass was issued in England’ and will have a English National Bus Pass Symbolred rose symbol on it.

It is important to mention though that bus passes issued outside London aren’t accepted on the Tube, rail or ferry services in London. Why should that be ? Well the theory is that when the National Bus Pass scheme was brought out in 2008, local authorities received, and still receive funding to cover the cost [local councils will say 'Ah but not enough funding to cover the cost' - but that is another issue.] The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS)provides for use of bus passes between 9.30 am and 11pm Monday to Friday, and anytime at weekends.

April 2016 Update on using a bus pass in London

 

There are other options for saving on Tube fares in London, e.g.

Holders of bus passes issued in Merseyside or Greater London from age 60 (i.e. earlier than the ENCTS) should note that these passes cannot be used outside their home area – these passes don’t have a ENglish National Bus Pass Symbolred rose symbol on them.

Further information about different conditions for using bus passes

In some districts councils have decided to improve on the ENCTS conditions by:

  • Extending the weekday hours – often by making the bus pass usable before 9.30 am e.g. Staffordshire allow any time during the week.
  • Making the bus pass acceptable on local metro/rail services/tube e.g. Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Greater London

Where this has happened the extra ‘benefits’ are only available for residents of the area concerned, e.g. travelling on the Merseyside Metro system with a bus pass is only available to holders of Merseyside Travel Pass.

Further information on variations in bus pass schemes in different local authority areas can be found on our Local Variations page.

We hope this explanation helps, we didn’t make these rules, we are just trying to make them understandable.

Bus pass rail travel protest bears fruit

TRAVEL bosses are poised to make a U-turn on their decision to axe free train travel for the disabled and elderly.

The Chronicle understands an announcement is imminent on a deal which will see free train travel reinstated for the disabled and half price fares for pensioners.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said: “Although we are awaiting final confirmation of this decision, it looks like common sense will prevail.

“Thanks to those who lobbied their councillors and engaged in the democratic process, it looks like a solution has been found.”

It follows six weeks of protests by members of the Barnsley Retirees Action Group after travel passes were scrapped on March 31 which had given the elderly free train travel after 9am, and allowed those disabled to travel free any time. Both now have to pay full fare at all times.

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This follows Barnsley pensioners refuse to pay train fares in protest

South Yorkshire ‘Freedom Riders’ refuse to pay fares in protest at concessionary benefits cuts

Defiant protestors angered by cuts to concessionary transport in South Yorkshire will rally in Sheffield for the third time in a month today.

More than 100 pensioners and disabled people, rallied by Barnsley Retirees Action Group (BRAG), are expected to refuse to pay rail fares before a mass gathering at Sheffield Railway Station in protest to cuts made by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).

In January the body announced that free bus services in Sheffield and Rotherham would be axed, and the concessionary fare scheme for older people and the disabled scaled back as SYPTE and South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority aimed to cut ten per cent from their annual budgets.

Under the plan, which came into effect on April 1, concessionary travel schemes were scaled back so that free weekday travel on buses and trams was only available between 9.30am and 11pm, and locally-funded concessionary rail travel was scrapped. Both schemes would save £629,000 over 2014/15.

The first ‘Freedom Ride’ took place on March 31, and saw more than 100 people board a train in Barnsley to travel to Meadowhall shopping centre, where they met others who had done the same from Sheffield and Doncaster.
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Thousands use free passes for buses & trains issued to improve air quality

Utah transportation officials say thousands participated in a program that offered free bus and train passes to people willing to leave their cars at home to improve air quality.

The Utah Transit Authority said this week they handed out 7,000 weekly passes, worth $50 each, from Feb. 17 to April 7. They were used for 28,500 bus and train boardings.

The program’s goal was to encourage people to use public transit rather than cars during winter months when the air in the Salt Lake City air becomes some of the worst in the country.
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Concessionary travel will be offered on Edinburgh trams

Edinburgh council has announced that in common with the way that Lothian Buses operate at the moment there will be a “single fully integrated flat fare regardless of the distance travelled” except for journeys which travel to the west of Gogar. This means that the fare to the airport will be calculated differently,  in the same way as the bus fare is now.

The cards used on Lothian Buses at present will be migrated for use on the combined bus and tram network, and Lothian Buses current strategy of offering pre-paid tickets at a discount will be continued and extended to the trams too.

Transport Convenor, Councillor Lesley Hinds said:-”The ticketing system will ensure that it is easy to move from tram to bus with a single ticket. Notwithstanding the details of all of the tickets offered such as day tickets or Ridacards in general terms the fares for trams and buses will be the same.”

The question of concessionary travel on Edinburgh Trams is covered in the reports for next week’s council meeting which state that the council wants to offer concessionary fares for trams as well as buses, but they will have to set up a whole new scheme to cover this, and this requires the approval of Transport Scotland. Keith Brown Transport Minister has already said that The Scottish Government would not support any concessionary travel under the nationwide concessionary travel scheme.

It is planned that any concessionary fares on the trams will be made available to all Edinburgh residents, or those who are Edinburgh council tax payers.  The council say that such a scheme is expected to cost them around £200,000 to implement.

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Labour demands cheaper travel for veterans

Labour is calling on train operating companies to look into extending concessionary travel for the Armed Forces to UK veterans. The Government has fallen short and now Labour believes concessionary travel should be provided to all who have served their country. Currently the HM Forces Railcard saves service personnel a third on rail fares. Labour is proposing this is extended to the 332,826 veterans who are on the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. This would have no cost to the public purse as the HM Forces Railcard is a concession granted by the Association of Train Operating Companies Train Operating Companies. In 2011-12 train operating company income was £305m more than their expenditure. Labour believes it is right that a small proportion of these profits are used to support those who serve in the name of national security.” Read more

a rail journey finishing outside Manchester using a PTE pass – help needed !

We are asked “If I wanted to travel outside the Greater Manchester boundary on a train using my gmpte over 60′s bus pass. How would I pay for the extra bit of the journey ? Would I have to get off the train at the boundary of the GM area and get on a new train and pay or is their an easier way?”

The Manchester PTE website says the pass “is valid for free (after 9.30am) fare travel only for journeys which begin and end within the Greater Manchester rail boundary.

So lets say the Manchester Bus Pass holder wanted to travel to Knutsford, can he/she use the pass for part of the journey and pay the remainder, if so how ? We’d be grateful for anyone who has tried this and knows the answer !

November 1st, a day to remember, when Boris began to resemble St George and King Canute

Boris as St George Today is the day that like King Canute, the Mayor of London reversed the tide and allowed those becoming age 60 to receive a 60+ London Oyster Photocard, instead of waiting for a Freedom Pass at an age moving towards age 65. In doing so he put to the sword those dragons who have been baying for the removal of bus passes, because they could see no further than the end of their noses.If you live in London, are aged 60 or over,You can now apply for a 60+ London Oyster photocard, giving travel free on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London
If you wish to apply the place to go is http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/25830.aspx