HC Deb 18 July 2001 vol 372 cc204-5W
Caroline Flint

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to reduce the cost of bus travel. [4907]

Ms Keeble

Outside London, the setting of bus fares is a matter for individual bus operators and they have a commercial incentive to keep fares at an affordable level, in order to attract passengers. In general, bus fares have tended to rise in line with the growth in average earnings. Local authorities have powers to arrange travel concessions for specified groups. But as part of our commitment to ensuring that elderly and disabled people have access to affordable transport, we have guaranteed them half fares on local bus services under the Transport Act 2000. The Travel Concessions (Eligibility) Bill, which is currently being debated in the other place, will go further and equalise at 60 the age at which both men and women become entitled to concessionary travel.

Buses have a vital role to play in our transport system. We have brought forward a range of policies to make bus travel more reliable and attractive for the passenger, and are supporting this with substantially increased capital funding. We are confident that this will lead to increased patronage, which in turn should help to keep fares down.