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Loss of Free Rail Travel for OAPs


Gladys
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Some very strange arguments from the Manx Labour Party on the loss of OAP concessions. For example, those grandparents providing childcare so the parents can go to work can't afford to take the grandchildren for a day out on the trains. It would seem that Port Erin, Ramsey and Snaefell are beyond their reach. This will also lead to an increase in the isolation and cause more depression of our OAPS.

 

Now, I am very sympathetic to OAPS, and think that everyone who has contributed during their working life should be given a bit of pay back. But, the reasons put forward were just spurious and seemed dreamt up, trying to find as many arguments as possible, no matter how tenuous and manufactured, rather than just simply that a caring society would like to give concessions.

 

Do OAPS still get concessionary bus fares?

 

It's all actually a left-over bit of electioneering from September. Back on Tynwald Day, Quine and the other Manx Labour Keys candidates presented a petition calling for the reinstatement of free travel for pensioner pass holders on the Railways. You can see how successful this was as a vote-winner by the enormous majorities that those candidates were elected with. But because it was presented (and 'picked-up' by Cretney MLC) it has to go through the motions of investigation by Tynwald. Hence the unconvincing arguments, because Manx Labour just thought they had to shout "Free goodies" and the grannies would all be harvested in, come September. So no need to make coherent arguments as to why this concession should be made rather than another.

 

As far as concessionary travel goes, over-60s have for decades had free travel on the buses on the Island[1], the only restrictions being specials such as night buses, certain express services that were supposed to be aimed at commuters and, for the same reason, any travel starting before 9am. They were also entitled to half price travel on the trains on production of the same card. Then fairly recently (around 2011-12), Cretney decided to make the heritage rail free as well - probably just to try to boost the passenger numbers.

 

Then in 2014, it was decided to make 'savings'. The DoI (no longer having Cretney as Minister) decided to reimpose charging (at half fare) for the trains. This actually met with very little complaint. In practice those pensioners who use the trains or trams tend to use them a lot. Because there are special season tickets (again half price for concessions) they can travel for the year for £30 or £37.50. So the price for any individual journey becomes very low if you are travelling a couple of times a week for 30 or more weeks. Even if you only use it to take the grandchildren out quite a few times over the holidays, the individual cost is pretty small. But for the same reason, the DoI isn't saving that much money by reimposing fares.

 

 

[1] Obviously this only applies to those who actually live on the Island (I think there is a six-month residency qualification) and not to visitors. and those who qualify need to acquire a special pass. UK pensioners have similarly had free travel for themselves, originally by local authority area (the London one dates from the early 80s) but now across the country for about the last decade or so.

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UK pensioners over 65 can travel on national buses ... all over the country.
Merseyside pensioners can use the trains as far as Southport and Chester on their bus passes.
This is generally accepted as good for the economy, in addition to socially desirable, as they tend to spend a few pounds in pubs and shops etc.
I dont think Manx pensioners do quite as well but wouldnt it be great if the IOM could swing a deal for Manx Pensioners to enjoy concessionary travel in the UK? I think its do- able.

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I dont think Manx pensioners do quite as well but wouldnt it be great if the IOM could swing a deal for Manx Pensioners to enjoy concessionary travel in the UK? I think its do- able.

No.

 

Is this really a serious suggestion? Any such deal would likely be reciprocal, and as such the pensioners over on holiday would contribute no revenue to Isle Of Man Transport.

 

Everyone complains about Isle Of Man Transport making a loss, but they provide many social services for the Manx people. Not for foreign tourists.

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UK pensioners over 65 can travel on national buses ... all over the country.

Merseyside pensioners can use the trains as far as Southport and Chester on their bus passes.

This is generally accepted as good for the economy, in addition to socially desirable, as they tend to spend a few pounds in pubs and shops etc.

I dont think Manx pensioners do quite as well but wouldnt it be great if the IOM could swing a deal for Manx Pensioners to enjoy concessionary travel in the UK? I think its do- able.

 

But it is not free as it has to be paid for through taxation regionally which seems to be a joint effort between HM Govt and local authorities certainly in England...Well that is what it says on my pass..."Concessionary travel funded by HM Government with your local authority"

 

I think I recall the local "rag" saying that the County Council was having to take over more of the funding...They certainly make some sort of assessment and agreement with the bus companies which are mostly private as regards expected ticketing volume.

 

I am not certain that the term "UK pensioners over 65" is correct...I attach a link below regarding bus pass age...I certainly got my bus pass which is also last I looked Iooked valid in London on Transport for London buses when I was 60...

 

The bus pass is issued by Essex County Council...The tickets when issued by the bus driver often say "Eng. Concessionary Pass"...

 

I think my English pass is not valid in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and vice versa...

 

So it appears to be regional and funded regionally or tailored to local conditions....There are various websites covering 'bus pass applications for the constituent parts of the UK.. and their devolved governments.

 

I have at times commented here that the Isle of Man folk have yet to fully realise just how devolved and diverse the "UK" has become such that this trite term "UK" really does not mean what it once did..

 

It is not just a simple matter of reciprocal arrangements...

 

Try the link!

 

 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjVp9fhttnQAhUJJMAKHfxhAq0QFgg0MAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gov.uk%2Fapply-for-elderly-person-bus-pass&usg=AFQjCNGfAln-JbJWBeqlXOrKYou5ihGmgw&sig2=FmvtpLqFblM6puUFUwMbNA

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Hi Barry

There are two passes available.

One is local and , as you say, entitles you to travel on local buses. This is available at age 60.

For National travel you have to be (male) state pension age. This used to be 65. Its gone up a bit I think recently.

National travel allows someone from Merseyside to travel free on London buses or Plymouth buses for example.

I have recently renewed my Father in Law's national pass. Presumably its the same country wide?

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On the basis that the rail systems are heavily subsidised by our tax wouldn't it be more appropriate to at the very worst introduce a small token gesture fee per journey for pensioners (50p or a pound), mainly to discourage aimless seat hogging, and allow use of the trams and trains on the standard multi journey tickets for everyone else like they used to.

 

I've not been on a tram in a very long time because the standard fare is prohibitive. But i used to ride them all the time when they were usable with the multi journey pass.

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I've not been on a tram in a very long time because the standard fare is prohibitive. But i used to ride them all the time when they were usable with the multi journey pass.

 

As I mentioned above, the season tickets have effectively replaced the multi-journey tickets. At £60 for the steam train or for the MER/MMR (or £75 for both), it means that you only have to make a few journeys over the year to cover the cost. A return fare Douglas/Port Erin was £12.40 in 2016, as was Douglas/Ramsey on the MER, so you'd only have to make five journeys to cover your costs.

 

Pensioners get a 50% discount on the those prices[1] and, as those who are retired are more likely to make use of what is essentially a daytime service, from conversations, most seem happy to buy a season ticket for ticket for £30 and use it so much that they are effectively only paying a token amount for each time they travel. The only ones who lose out are the very occasional users and by definition they can't be losing out by much and on something that was only free for a couple of years.

 

It's absolutely typical of Manx Labour that they should choose to concentrate on a minor loss to a relatively privileged minority while ignoring two bigger changes affecting many more people, that came in at the same time as reverting the rail concession to half price. The first was the raising of the age from which people were entitled to the concessions for anyone born after Summer 2014[2] from 60 to an apparently ever-receding horizon[3].

 

The second was the imposition of half-price fares (rather than free) for bus journeys starting between 4.00pm and 5.30pm. While this had always applied for early morning rides, an afternoon charge was new. unlike the rail one, and a genuine inconvenience[4] for those going out for the day, wanting to pop down to the shops later on, or returning from a hospital visit. For those watching every penny it must add an extra level of anxiety that they will miss a bus or that it will be late and arrive after the deadline.

 

You can't really see the logic behind it either. It's hardly as if there was a massive rush hour on public transport between those times and the maximum pressure is actually a bit earlier when the schools come out. Those going home from work tend to be only at the end of that period or more likely after, and anyway evening rush hours are more spread out than morning ones, because people work later, or shop or socialise before going home. That's why similar schemes in the UK also tend to have a 9.00am or later start, but no charge after that.

 

Presumably some bigwig at the DOI once deigned to travel on one of their vehicles, was indignant because some pensioner didn't give up their seat for his clearly superior self and decided that they must pay for this. No doubt a 'business plan' was dreamt up on the basis of the extra revenue that would be raised[5] and used to justify the next round of civil service payrises and a few promotions.

 

The point about changes to bus travel rather than by train is that buses tend to be used more by the poorest pensioners (the better off will tend to have their own cars as others have said) and yet here is Manx Labour complaining about something else while other changes cause more inconvenience and expense for the worst off. And of course if they really cared they would have made a fuss in 2014 rather than wait till an election was due.

 

 

[1] Interestingly you can also become an honorary OAP by buying a Go Rail Card for £20 which gives you a 50% discount on fares. However rudimentary calculations show that this is only a money saver in very restricted circumstances. For example on those Douglas/Port Erin journeys you need to be intending to make exactly four or five or six return trips. Make three or fewer and you're better paying full fare; make seven or more and the £60 season ticket is better value.

 

In fact one of the more amusing features of the expensive and elaborate ticketing system that Longworth insisted on imposing on our tiny transport system is the number of special Go Cards that have been dreamt up (each no doubt with additional design, manufacture and promotional costs) which seem to appeal to what can only be politely described as appealing to a rather limited market such as Manx Gaelic speakers or people who can afford to spend £880 on a Go Platinum Reserve.

 

[2] David Cretney born January 1954. Just saying.

 

[3] There's an interesting argument to be had about encouraging people in this to remain in or go back to work, especially in jobs that would otherwise be taken by low-earning immigrants to the Island. At the moment the only ones so targeted appear to be high-earning public employees however.

 

[4] It was also an embarrassment for many (I witnessed a couple of cases) because as usual with Bus Vannin changes, it wasn't much consulted upon or advertised. So elderly passengers were suddenly confronted with a demand for payment that they didn't expect and were confused by.

 

[5] Which it wouldn't be because pensioners would just travel earlier or later, though inconvenienced.

 

(Edited for clarity).

Edited by Roger Mexico
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Hi Barry

There are two passes available.

One is local and , as you say, entitles you to travel on local buses. This is available at age 60.

For National travel you have to be (male) state pension age. This used to be 65. Its gone up a bit I think recently.

National travel allows someone from Merseyside to travel free on London buses or Plymouth buses for example.

I have recently renewed my Father in Law's national pass. Presumably its the same country wide?

 

There is confusion here! Unless I am very wrong in which case I am missing out...

 

There is only one National Pass or National Scheme but it is wrongly named as it certainly not national in the sense of one card fits all. ie An English pass will enable you to travel all over England on local buses including anytime on Transport for London and Plymouth and Norwich and anywhere in England but if issued in England it will only be valid in England. You cannot use it in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

This was clearly stated and the relevant links supplied as regards Wales, Scotland, N. Ireland.

 

It is called "National" as it stems from HM Government but what you get depends on where you live. It is up to the administrative area of the pass issuer..Some issuers under the National Scheme do mainly local buses and all others throughout England and usually it includes travel on London buses with "Transport for London"...Some areas include limited local train trips...Others include ferries...See the links..

 

Although it is "national" it depends not just on local authorities but also devolved governments which is why I gave you the links.

 

Some confusion is caused by the fact that certain national transport operators covering the whole UK also provide local services under the "national" scheme ie Stagecoach and First...They go along motorways for which you pay a fare but you can only use your "national" pass on local services run by them as defined by your local authority issuer...But they call it a National Card!

 

The age discrepancy is caused by recent changes to the pension age. It depends when you were born. Basically those who retired at 65 get it or got it but the goalposts shifted and it is now linked to the new retirement ages as graduated.

 

Pension ages have moved on which is why I gave you the link for self-calculation. Use it and input your birthday to see when you qualify. Some got the bus pass at 60 but now it is linked to the retirement age of women and a man gets it when his age coincides with that of a woman retiring (See links as supplied previously in posts) So some got their pass at 60 others must now wait an extra 1-2-3-4 etc years.

 

I can find no reference to there being two national bus or transport schemes made free to those of pension age..If you can provide me with a link kindly do so and then I will get one for myself!

 

The bottom link below refers to the "national" pass but then goes on to explain limitations in this case Devon...But a Devon pass is valid anywhere else in England.

 

The point is that unlike the Isle of Man here there are no national buses as most are long since privatised..Hence the need for the schemes to be funded by HM Government, local area councils and the devolved adminstrations..

 

But if you can help me get me one of these National Bus Passes for all areas ie "uni-free travel" for the whole UK then post me a hot link! Thank you!

 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiAiue3zNrQAhUBCsAKHayFDWIQFggxMAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ageuk.org.uk%2Fmoney-matters%2Fclaiming-benefits%2Fpublic-transport-and-concessions%2Ftransport-concessions-older-people%2F&usg=AFQjCNHtjh0FluliWHMittdLlTDlhdIDnQ&sig2=LeB924aGlgeHjyN1OfqYiw

 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiAiue3zNrQAhUBCsAKHayFDWIQFgg_MAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fnew.devon.gov.uk%2Ftravel%2Fbus%2Fnational-bus-pass%2F&usg=AFQjCNEb7FEKeRjEWDqrARwgYOh3NKRUjw&sig2=kUBTQBjuNc66XJ61eEz14g

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Hi Barry

There are two passes available.

One is local and , as you say, entitles you to travel on local buses. This is available at age 60.

For National travel you have to be (male) state pension age. This used to be 65. Its gone up a bit I think recently.

National travel allows someone from Merseyside to travel free on London buses or Plymouth buses for example.

I have recently renewed my Father in Law's national pass. Presumably its the same country wide?

 

As I said. So many people do not understand how devolved and diverse we are now...One can no longer really say "country wide" unless you refer to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland individually..."Nationwide" you can say but then the constituent parts now have devolved assemblies and administrations...All changed now! (And changing more!)

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Some very strange arguments from the Manx Labour Party on the loss of OAP concessions. For example, those grandparents providing childcare so the parents can go to work can't afford to take the grandchildren for a day out on the trains. It would seem that Port Erin, Ramsey and Snaefell are beyond their reach. This will also lead to an increase in the isolation and cause more depression of our OAPS.

Now, I am very sympathetic to OAPS, and think that everyone who has contributed during their working life should be given a bit of pay back. But, the reasons put forward were just spurious and seemed dreamt up, trying to find as many arguments as possible, no matter how tenuous and manufactured, rather than just simply that a caring society would like to give concessions.

Do OAPS still get concessionary bus fares?

Isn't it basically because Cretney when he was sitting over the buses brought in the ability to get freebies on the trains too? And now despite him apparently having a non political role as an MLC (a joke) he appears to be using the Manx Labour Party (of which he is also chairman) to try to push this agenda again to make him look good to a load of Pully grannies.

Oh he's a lovely man that David Cretney he gave us free goes on the Steam Train so I could go to Port Erin for an ice cream once a year when my car is in for a service!

Cretney always was, is, and will remain, a complete arsehole.

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You can't really see the logic behind it either. It's hardly as if there was a massive rush hour on public transport between those times and the maximum pressure is actually a bit earlier when the schools come out. Those going home from work tend to be only at the end of that period or more likely after, and anyway evening rush hours are more spread out than morning ones, because people work later, or shop or socialise before going home. That's why similar schemes in the UK also tend to have a 9.00am or later start, but no charge after that.

 

Presumably some bigwig at the DOI once deigned to travel on one of their vehicles, was indignant because some pensioner didn't give up their seat for his clearly superior self and decided that they must pay for this. No doubt a 'business plan' was dreamt up on the basis of the extra revenue that would be raised[5] and used to justify the next round of civil service payrises and a few promotions.

To be fair the buses between 4 and 5 usually have people standing. So the rule is reducing that problem a bit.

 

That said the main cause of the problem is there aren't enough double deckers. Put double deckers on the route and it doesn't matter if pensioners use it to.

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