England National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS)

Ken H

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Now that bus ticket machines can now scan and record the ENCTS QR code, should it be changed so the council that issued the pass pays the bus operator*. It could be done with a sort of computerised clearing house. Would mean that councils with a lot of tourist traffic would benefit. Why should (for instance) Cumbria council tax payers have to pay for Greater Manchester residents fun days out?
*Currently the council for the start of the journey pays.
 
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Gloster

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I wonder which are the major gainers and losers. I suspect that the Isle of Wight is a major loser: a popular destination for ENCTS card holders, but whose own holders use a car when heading to the big island to the north.
 

MotCO

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Is this complicated by the funding mechanisms for national funding (i.e. not just transport funding) being allocated to Councils for their Revenue Support Grant? If the formula allows for tourist flows, it may be argued that Councils are already compensated for out of area users of services. If you do what you are suggesting, the RSG funding mechanisms will need to be adjusted, so Councils, such as IOW, may not gain.
 

Ken H

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Is this complicated by the funding mechanisms for national funding (i.e. not just transport funding) being allocated to Councils for their Revenue Support Grant? If the formula allows for tourist flows, it may be argued that Councils are already compensated for out of area users of services. If you do what you are suggesting, the RSG funding mechanisms will need to be adjusted, so Councils, such as IOW, may not gain.
Umm. More complicated than I thought
 

Wolfie

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Now that bus ticket machines can now scan and record the ENCTS QR code, should it be changed so the council that issued the pass pays the bus operator*. It could be done with a sort of computerised clearing house. Would mean that councils with a lot of tourist traffic would benefit. Why should (for instance) Cumbria council tax payers have to pay for Greater Manchester residents fun days out?
*Currently the council for the start of the journey pays.
The current system, while crude, has the merit of simplicity. The sort of replacement you mention likely comes with significant build and maintenance costs.
 

Ken H

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The current system, while crude, has the merit of simplicity. The sort of replacement you mention likely comes with significant build and maintenance costs.
But some counties suffer because their public transport budget goes to pay for travel from people from elsewhere, leaving communities with nothing. Big problem in Cumbria.
 

Robertj21a

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But some counties suffer because their public transport budget goes to pay for travel from people from elsewhere, leaving communities with nothing. Big problem in Cumbria.
Nothing new, surely?
I think most coastal towns have been saying the same for donkeys years.
 

InOban

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It's simpler in Scotland where the whole scheme is financed centrally, and the pass includes coach travel. The only exclusions are night buses, and the Edinburgh tram is only free to holders of cards issued through Edinburgh.
 

RT4038

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But some counties suffer because their public transport budget goes to pay for travel from people from elsewhere, leaving communities with nothing. Big problem in Cumbria.
But ENCTS doesn't come from the general public transport budget as such, but comes via the block (Revenue Support) Grant from Government. If what is being funded changes then so would the Block Grant sum. Tourists being their transport funded leaving communities with nothing is a myth. Cumbria [amongst other Authorities] have presumably decided (willingly or not) to prioritise their other functions (Education, social care etc) over public transport provision
 

Olympian

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Now that bus ticket machines can now scan and record the ENCTS QR code, should it be changed so the council that issued the pass pays the bus operator*. It could be done with a sort of computerised clearing house. Would mean that councils with a lot of tourist traffic would benefit. Why should (for instance) Cumbria council tax payers have to pay for Greater Manchester residents fun days out?
*Currently the council for the start of the journey pays.
QR code? ENCTS cards use ITSO functionality, not QR, and have been interoperable throughout the country for several years whereas not all ETMs are capable of reading QRs yet. Under standard ITSO functionality the issuing authority will already receive all journey transactions for their own cards, wherever they’re used, so electronic reimbursement could already be introduced based on card issuer rather than boarding area subject to a change in rules nationally and suitable reimbursement systems being introduced by those schemes that don’t currently do it electronically which is the majority. But, personally, I doubt it would ever happen.
 

AY1975

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Not sure whether this belongs in this thread or warrants a separate thread (moderators - feel free to make this into a new thread if you feel it appropriate) but I see from this story that the qualifying age for a concessionary travel pass looks set to be raised in line with the retirement age:

Free bus passes to be axed for millions of pensioners under new UK law (msn.com)

Not sure if there had been any actual government announcement on this, though. AIUI you currently have to be 66 to get a free bus pass in England as that is the qualifying age for a state pension, but in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it is still 60.
 
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Not sure whether this belongs in this thread or warrants a separate thread (moderators - feel free to make this into a new thread if you feel it appropriate) but I see from this story that the qualifying age for a concessionary travel pass looks set to be raised in line with the retirement age:

Free bus passes to be axed for millions of pensioners under new UK law (msn.com)

Not sure if there had been any actual government announcement on this, though. AIUI you currently have to be 66 to get a free bus pass in England as that is the qualifying age for a state pension, but in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it is still 60.
This isn't a new thing, it has been like this for a while, the UK .gov site rather coyly states in England outside London you will receive your pass at the age you receive your state pension.

So most of us will be well into our 60s before we get it. I wrote to my MP about this but received no reply.

It's the worst kind of discrimination, the kind against me.
 

AY1975

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I know that transport (or at least internal transport, and therefore fares and ticketing) in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter, but as the qualifying age for the state pension in Scotland, Wales and NI is still 60 whereas in England it is currently 66, I presume that means the pensionable age is also a devolved matter.
 

carlberry

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as the qualifying age for the state pension in Scotland, Wales and NI is still 60 whereas in England it is currently 66, I presume that means the pensionable age is also a devolved matter.
It's not currently devolved and is the same across the UK.
 
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I know that transport (or at least internal transport, and therefore fares and ticketing) in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter, but as the qualifying age for the state pension in Scotland, Wales and NI is still 60 whereas in England it is currently 66, I presume that means the pensionable age is also a devolved matter.
The state pension is the same across the UK?

If it was still 60 in Scotland, I would still be living there.
 

Man of Kent

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I know that transport (or at least internal transport, and therefore fares and ticketing) in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter, but as the qualifying age for the state pension in Scotland, Wales and NI is still 60 whereas in England it is currently 66, I presume that means the pensionable age is also a devolved matter.
Is that definitely the case? The state pension age calculator on the gov.uk website does not ask which part of the UK you live in, and regionally-divided websites such as Age Concern also point to the gov.uk website calculator.
Qualifications for other benefits, such as bus passes, does vary regionally.
 

Dai Corner

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Is that definitely the case? The state pension age calculator on the gov.uk website does not ask which part of the UK you live in, and regionally-divided websites such as Age Concern also point to the gov.uk website calculator.
Qualifications for other benefits, such as bus passes, does vary regionally.
I'm 61, live in Wales and have a bus pass but am too young for a state pension. I have to wait until I'm 66 and two months, just as I would if I lived elsewhere in the UK.
 

Busaholic

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This isn't a new thing, it has been like this for a while, the UK .gov site rather coyly states in England outside London you will receive your pass at the age you receive your state pension. 2021 which

So most of us will be well into our 60s before we get it. I wrote to my MP about this but received no reply.

It's the worst kind of discrimination, the kind against me.
Off topic, but related to the recent article written by someone who couldn't be bothered to check any facts before the piece was published, there was a government consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care which closed on 2nd September 2021. It proposed increasing the qualifying age for free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66 in line with the current state pension age. I wasn't aware of this 'consultation' which lasted for 8 or 9 weeks according to which part of the document you looked at. Leaving the qualifying age as it is was neither of the two options allowed for. <D
 

Greybeard33

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But some counties suffer because their public transport budget goes to pay for travel from people from elsewhere, leaving communities with nothing. Big problem in Cumbria.
In my experience the Lake District has a very good bus network, which benefits the locals as well as tourists.
 

extendedpaul

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Am I right in thinking I still don't tap in on London buses with my ENCTS pass ?

I have always just shown it to the driver but I regularly see people on buses, from Victoria in particular, who try to tap in.
 

Flying Snail

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I'm 61, live in Wales and have a bus pass but am too young for a state pension. I have to wait until I'm 66 and two months, just as I would if I lived elsewhere in the UK.

In Northern Ireland they are separate passes with different validity; 60+ is valid on NI buses and trains, Senior (65+) pass is valid across all of Ireland bus and train, the NI Senior pass is also available to all 65 year olds from ROI on application.
 

Bletchleyite

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I said the Lake District, not the whole of Cumbria.

I was thinking the same :)

To be fair there are a number of gaps, but for a mostly commercial service it is pretty good, essentially paid for via the "tourist tax" of (relatively) overcharging for singles/returns and day tickets but making seasons more affordable for the locals, just as it is done on the Isle of Wight.
 

Roger1973

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Yes, reimbursement to the bus operator is for the authority where the journey starts, but it's not quite as simple as that.

When the ENCTS was introduced, the grant from central government to each authority for the scheme was intended to reflect things like tourists from elsewhere.

Just how this was calculated, how accurate it was, and how it's been kept up in the light of experience, I couldn't say (I had some involvement at the local authority end of things around the time it was introduced, but have been elsewhere in recent years)
 

RT4038

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Really? How about finding a bus in Kirkby Stephen or millom.
Both of those places have very highly subsidised local rail service, which means that no bus service is ever going to commercially viable.
 

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