HC Deb 08 July 2002 vol 388 c669W
Andy Burnham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bus services in each metropolitan transport authority area for which his Department pays subsidy have been(a) temporarily and (b) permanently suspended in the last 12 months. [66880]

Mr. Jamieson

My Department does not collect information in the form requested.

All local bus services following a registered route and timetable are eligible to receive grant from the Department in the form of fuel duty rebate. However, in the vast majority of cases (nearly 90 per cent. of total bus provision in the areas of passenger transport authorities) decisions on service provision are for commercial operators.

In the remaining cases, the service is provided under contract from the passenger transport authority and subsidised by that authority from its own resources. The resources available to authorities are augmented by payments from the Department's rural bus subsidy grant scheme. I understand that only one service supported by a passenger transport authority with funding form this scheme has been withdrawn in the last 12 months.

Mr. Breed

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he is taking to increase the take-up of concessionary fares on rural bus services. [66781]

Mr. Jamieson

[holding answer 4 July 2002]Our minimum requirement for concessionary fares schemes has, since June 2001, guaranteed at least half-fares for pensioners and disabled people on local buses to the benefit of seven million people overall, some of whom will be travelling in rural areas. This is an improvement on the previous position where 16 mostly rural areas had no concessionary travel scheme at all. From April 2003 the Travel Concessions (Eligibility) Act 2002 will ensure that men aged 60–65 will also receive the benefit of concessionary travel. Further, our Rural Bus Subsidy Grant has provided an additional 1,800 services upon which concessionary travel is possible. Many of the innovative schemes supported by our Rural Bus Challenge competition also provide further scope for take-up of concessionary travel.