01 April 2008

National free bus travel in England for the over-60s

Today, National Free Travel on bus services for over 60's came into effect. It has not been without some criticism, generally by those who are unhappy at not being able to travel before 0930 (Mondays to Fridays), particularly as some areas have opted to allow travel at any time. BBC Look North ran a feature on this which can be seen here.

A round up of the restrictions on Mondays - Fridays in and around the LEYTR area is as follows:

0930 - 2300: Cambridgeshire*****
0930 - 2300: East Riding of Yorkshire*
No Restriction: Hull City Council
0930 - 2300: Leicestershire****
0930 - 2300: Lincolnshire
0830 - 2300: Norfolk
0930 - 2300: North East Lincolnshire
No Restriction: North Lincolnshire
0930 - 2300: Nottinghamshire**
0930 - 2300: Peterborough City Council*****
0930 - 2300: Rutland
0900 - 2300: South Yorkshire***

Generally for councils offering No Restriction it applies to travel wholly within their area or journeys that commence in their area to a destination outside that area. Journeys that commence in another area for travel into that council's area are restricted to the 0930 - 2300 weekday limit. For example, a card baring the Hull City Council logo offers free travel at all times for journeys wholly within Hull City or for journeys commencing in Hull City to, say, Barton on Humber (North Lincolnshire). Journeys from Barton on Humber to Hull City before 0930 or after 2300 on weekdays will NOT be valid to holders of passes baring anything other than the North Lincolnshire logo, i.e. Hull City pass holders would have to pay.

Confused? Try some more......

* Passengers may travel outside the restricted hours on purchase of an Early Bird Pass at £15 which is valid for 12 months. To qualify a journey must be either wholly within the East Riding or Hull or have a start or finish point within the East Riding. Passes are only valid on bus services before 0930 and after 2300 Monday to Friday. At all other times the National Free Pass must be used.

** Outside the restricted hours, pass holders may have half price bus travel before 0930 Monday to Friday and free travel after 2300 except on premium fare night buses. Also free travel on the Nottingham tram (NET) between 0930 and 1600 and after 1800 Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on bank holidays. Before 0930 and between 1600 and 1800 Monday to Friday half fare travel is available. Half fare rail travel on local journeys in and around Nottinghamshire.

*** Unrestricted Travel applies within South Yorkshire, for travel outside the area 0930 - 2300 applies. South Yorkshire residents are also entitled to free travel from 0900 on weekdays and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays on the following services: Any bus or tram within South Yorkshire. Between stations on the South Yorkshire rail network to and from West Yorkshire on Northern Rail services (without changing trains in West Yorkshire). Into South Yorkshire by bus from neighbouring areas (but not until 0930 from the Peak District).

**** Before 0930 on Mondays to Fridays passengers will be able to travel at half fare in the same areas, unless they hold an older person's pass and live in the North West Leicestershire area, in which case concessionary travel is not available before 0930 on Mondays to Fridays.

***** Stagecoach in Peterborough and Stagecoach in Cambridge allow free travel after 2300 on weekdays.

You'll forgive your bus/coach driver if he takes a while to press the correct buttons on his ticket machine!! We thought that the one generic pass, plus the standard TfL Freedom Pass design, would simplify matters but the way one bus operator in our area is asking its drivers to record free passes sees over 20 different button-press combinations required for each pass likely to be seen in its area.