The end to concessionary coach fares
Thursday 10 November 2011
Reduced fares on long-distance journeys withdrawn
The concessionary coach fare scheme has been withdrawn for disabled and older people in England. This means that discounts on long-distance coach travel are no longer available.
Concessionary coach fares were available on selected coach services to destinations within England and Wales, and to Edinburgh or Glasgow from England and Wales. The discount was up to 50% at off-peak times and up to 30% at peak times.
The scheme was withdrawn on 31 October after the government cut the Bus Service Operators Grant, which funds it, by 20%. In September, hundreds of Mencap campaigners emailed the transport minister Norman Baker, urging him to delay the removal of the scheme.
National Express, the biggest long-distance coach provider, has introduced a £10 concession card that will entitle passengers to a third off off the cost of coach travel.
Mencap campaigns support officer Clare Lucas said: “While National Express’s plans are welcome, they do not cover airport services and people will still have to pay more than the original concession.
“Without access to affordable transport, disabled and older people will miss out on the independence and opportunities that others take for granted. Most people with a learning disability cannot drive and many use coaches to visit family and friends.
“Bringing in this cut in the run-up to Christmas could mean that people are unable to visit relatives due to the cost of travel. This cut will further isolate people with a learning disability, and other disabled people, across England.”