Wednesday, December 06, 2006

'Free Travel' Costs Over £50m

The latest estimate for the cost of under 18 free travel is £55 million. Note how the Mayor shamelessly tries to spin this as a redistribution benefit.

Andrew Pelling: What is the latest lost revenue estimate for both the under 18 and under 16 free bus pass scheme?

Ken Livingstone: Free bus travel for the under 16s is estimated to have reduced bus fares revenue by around £35m pa.

Free bus travel for 16/17s in full time education is expected to reduce bus fares revenue by around £20m in a full year.

Put another way, the two schemes are delivering benefits to hard pressed families across London worth over £50m per annum.

These savings should make it less of a struggle for poorer families to fund the final two years of secondary education for their children; and, it is hoped, will encourage more children from poorer homes to stay on at school.

Following the introduction of the two free schemes, bus fares revenue in 2007 is expected to be in excess of £1billion.

Of course the high revenue probably has more to do with inflation busting fare increases over three years, than with giving away free tickets to some groups.

18 comments:

Phil Taylor said...

Roger,

It is useful to pull out some of this information but could I ask you to go a bit deeper?

I would be interested to know the level of bus subsidy in the last FY, what the potential out turn will be this FY and what the plans are for the next FY.

Yours,



Phil Taylor

Merlin said...

You have previously said that free bus travel for children is a luxury London cannot afford. Does this mean that your party's policy for the next mayoral election is that the free bus journeys for under-18s will be abolished if you win?

Roger Evans said...

Phil,

Thank you for the suggestion - I'm blogging other members' questions here so I can only copy the exchange. I will ask about the subsidy at the MQT in January.

Merlin,

One thing that is certain is that I will not be the Conservative Mayoral candidate, having already ruled myself out of the race. Policy will be a matter for the candidate to decide when they are chosen, however given the cost of this concession, the levels of anti social behaviour, and the lack of control over the issuing and checking of passes, I will be recommending abolition - if asked...

Anonymous said...

2 points really, both relating to the under 16's free travel..

Firstly, most just seem to get on and go 'under 16 mate' at the driver who lets them on free. I am sure most are, but how does the driver know if they have had their card taken away for bad behaviour? I appreciate this is as much about driver education as policy, but it does seem like an empty threat.

Secondly, what is the impact of this policy on obesity?! I have noticed that the number of schoolchildren on my commute that get on the bus and go one stop to the school rather than walk is massive, which makes me wonder about the health impact, as many of these would have walked the short distance before, and now don't. I doubt that this has a big impact on people that drive their children to school, as i suspect most still will!

Anonymous said...

Hi

Ken's free travel concession is wonderful. My kids all of whom travel each day to school in Hackney also use the buses extensively to explore our great city at weekends and in the evenings. For them, the concession has been a wonderfully liberating experience.

Many kids, especially in the Inner City don't have the money to pay fares or Mums or Dads with cars to provide a taxi service.

Why is being a Tory always about maintaining deprivation? Why is it when something is free to the user, that Conservatives always wish to abolish it?

Plenty of us remember not only the abolition of free school milk, but also the introduction of admission charges to the National Museums by the Tories and the selling off of playing fields depriving thousands of schools of facilities that might have been influential on the sort of society and behaviours we see nowadays.

Anonymous said...

I say abolish it, I haven't travelled on a bus since they became free to thuggs/muggers which is what these teens are, they are generallty abusive to over commuters and I no longer feel save using Buses due to this, not only that but I'm having to pay the price with inflated prices elsewhere on public transport to cover there free travel, abolish it please.

ed said...

It's appalling to see the over-generalisations and stereotyping being applied to our capital's poorest youth in this debate.

Personally, I'd like to see some concrete policies from Roger Evans and the Conservatives over issues such as helping London's poor and needy, rather than trying to score cheap political points every time the Mayor opens his mouth.

I'm a floating voter, with no allegiance to any party at all, and have voted for all three main parties at some point in my life. There are plenty like me who's votes are there for the taking.

Like him or loathe him, the Mayor at the moment has concrete policies, which he puts into action. Rather than say "no", what exactly is it your proposing, Roger? I'm not entirely sure I'd want to vote for someone who seems like a personification of the Daily Mail letters page.

Anonymous said...

Yes that last comment is right - not much evidence of new, modern, reformed tories in London; just rabid hard right-wingers.

Anonymous said...

Travelling on buses now is a nightmare, especially at night. They are full of noisy intimidating teenagers. Nobody bothers to produce any kind of I.D or Oyster card which I thought was meant to be compulsory if you wanted to travel free. My teenage daughters both have them and use them but they seem to be in the minority. The scheme is being grossly abused with people who are clearly not entitled to free travel doing so anyway. they just board the buss en masse and the driver doesn't challenge them, but then who can blame them? I am one of the few left that has to pay and I deeply resent the way things have deteriorated.

littlelondoner said...

I question how much children being given 'free' buses costs the economy in wasted time. For example, many people that I know, including myself, have been late for work/university/appointments etc. as teenagers get on the bus without their oyster cards & then refuse to pay or to get off, thus leaving the bus at a standstill for 10minutes plus... very useful.
Not to mention the abuse that you are subjected to, as an adult, when you dare question these little darlings about what gives them the right to put a black mark against your name at work...

Yet another reason to think the system is crazy. Truanting children are allowed to hold up public transport, thanks TfL.

Anonymous said...

i think that kids under the age of 18 should not pay a public bus fare because maybe they are headed to a library or their work or even rarely to do community hours they are going to an educative environment that makes it all better and if they are going to all those places they are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that all children under the age of 18 should not pay a bus fare .Because if they take the bus to go to an educative place they should be and are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that all children under the age of 18 should not pay a bus fare .Because if they take the bus to go to an educative place they should be and are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that all children under the age of 18 should not pay a bus fare .Because if they take the bus to go to an educative place they should be and are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that all children under the age of 18 should not pay a bus fare .Because if they take the bus to go to an educative place they should be and are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that all children under the age of 18 should not pay a bus fare .Because if they take the bus to go to an educative place they should be and are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that all children under the age of 18 should not pay a bus fare .Because if they take the bus to go to an educative place they should be and are becoming an important member of society.

Anonymous said...

i think that the stereotypical view of many of these writers should stay to themselves. the use of buses by children makes a huge difference and benifits them in more ways than one. yes, there are negative points but they are easily counter weighted by the positive. i am 14 and regularly use my oyster card and i am refused transport if i dont have it on me. the bus drivers do everything in there power, they are now allowed to refuse and remove people (mainly teenagers) from their bus if they are disruptive or fail to show identity. I say we should keep it!