Councillors in North Yorkshire are adding their voices to a growing national campaign to support additional funding for concessionary bus fares.
North Yorkshire County Council took over responsibility for running the scheme from the seven district councils in April. The scheme provides free bus travel to people who qualify for a bus pass on grounds of age or disability – but the annual settlement from central Government to the county council for the service was seriously underestimated by around £5 million per year.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Passenger Transport:
We need funding from central Government to provide the concessionary fares scheme and they simply have not allocated us enough.
They have left us with a budget shortfall which we now have to make up –using our own local funds.
North Yorkshire is one of many rural councils across the country in a similar position and we will be talking with colleagues in other affected authorities to decide how best we can campaign together to improve the position in the future.
Whilst we accept that the current budget for 2012-13 is already set and we will have to continue to work within it , we hope that by joining the growing national fair fares campaign, and with the support of North Yorkshire’s MPs, it may be possible to negotiate a better concessionary fares budget position for 2014 onwards.