Unfair scheme

I AM grateful to Peter Shipp of East Yorkshire Motor Services for his explanation of how the concessionary fare scheme operates (Evening News May 30).

But his response only partially addressed my questions.

I had also asked how many extra buses and how many extra drivers had been employed by EYMS in order to carry extra passengers resulting from the scheme?

In other words, what have been the extra costs to EYMS of those passengers? If as I suspect concessionary fare passengers have in the large part merely taken up spare capacity, then EYMS’s extra costs will have been minimal, and the hundreds of millions paid out nationally will have gone straight to bus companies’ bottom lines.

If that has kept more buses on the road than otherwise would have been the case then it should be welcomed.

However, I would have preferred to see more services laid on.

Mr Shipp rightly points out that the Concessionary Fares Scheme is being cut by this Conservative-led government. I suspect David Cameron wants to salami slice it in such a way he thinks nobody will notice – so as not to appear to break yet another election promise.

One way he is doing this is by raising the age of eligibility.

This means anyone in their fifties (or younger) will generally have to wait until retirement age, rather than 60 years of age before they can claim a bus pass.

Another ingenious way of making the scheme less attractive has been introduced by EYMS: the scandalous introduction of ‘voluntary donations’ sought from pass holders – this has happened on the 100 service in Hull and I believe Arriva are doing the same thing on one or two of their services.

I predict that eventually the free concessionary fare will become the reduced concessionary fare. We have to oppose this.

Councillor Colin Challen

St Sepulchre Street