Essex County Council wants to hear from Park and Ride users from across the county on concessionary fares for disabled and older users as part of a consultation that launches today, Wednesday 8th May, 2019.
We currently allow concessionary bus passes to be used on the three County Council operated Park and Ride schemes at Sandon and Chelmer Valley in Chelmsford and at the Colchester Park and Ride. These include the Broomfield Hospital shuttle bus service from the Chelmer Valley site. Currently concessionary pass holders travel for free after 9am.
We are consulting on charging older person’s bus pass holders a £1.50 return fare on Park and Ride services in Essex.
We are also consulting on making a reduced charge of £1.50 for people using the disability based bus pass before 9am on the Park and Ride services.
Neither of these proposals will affect the use of bus passes on normal local bus services.
This consultation gives you the opportunity to let us know your views about the proposals.
We need to ensure the current service is fit for purpose and best meets the needs of those that use it, while also ensuring value for money for Essex taxpayers. The concessionary pass scheme as a whole costs taxpayers £18m a year in Essex and in the current financial climate it’s only right to test whether free travel on Park and Ride – which is discretionary - should continue.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Cabinet Member with responsibility for concessionary fares, said: “We understand that the Park and Ride Services across Essex are important for many people including concessionary pass holders. The ease and convenience of the service make it an obvious choice for travelling into Chelmsford or Colchester.
“We want to ensure that those of you that use the Park and Ride are getting the best possible service and experience for the fare you pay. We also need to demonstrate value for money, which is why we are reviewing free travel for older people’s concessionary pass holders.
“I am really keen to hear from you as part of the consultation so that we can ensure we have a service that meets the needs of residents in the most effective way."
The consultation proposes the below;
- To change from offering free travel on the Park and Ride services in Essex for people who hold the older person’s bus pass, to charging a return fare of £1.50. The new charge would apply at all times.
- Before 9am, disability bus pass holders will also be able to pay £1.50 - passholders currently pay full fare before 9am. Disability bus pass users will still be able to travel free after 9am on production of their pass.
Full details of the proposals can be found at the consultation web pages that will go live at 10am today.
The consultation will run from Wednesday 08 May until Wednesday 31 July 2019. It is available online
Paper copies of the questionnaire will be available from the Sandon, Chelmer Valley and Colchester Park and Ride sites, or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the consultation, we will consider the responses and make an announcement of how we intend to proceed later in the year with any changes coming into effect in April 2020.