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Getting rid of free bus passes would cost economy £1.7 billion


A study has show that removing free bus passes for disabled people and pensioners would actually cost the economy in excess of £1.7 billion a year.

The study, conducted by Greener Journeys, has found that every £1 spent on the government provided bus pass generates over £2.87 of benefits. This is through helping pensioners and disabled people to contribute more actively as volunteers, or helping them to stay more physically active and to feel less lonely and isolated, therefore decreasing poorer health and promoting well-being among older people.

The full Basic State Pension is currently £113.10 a week once you reach state pension age. Free bus passes can be worth up to £3,268 a year, which would become unattainable for pensioners if they did not have access to a free bus pass. This may then lead to pensioners having less access to key public services and miss out on social, environmental and economical benefits, such as being able to go to local shops or look after children.

Greener Journeys, who conducted the study, are a company made up of an alliance of UK bus and coach companies .They promote the potential of bus and coach travel to help drive economic growth, boost access to job markets, high streets and local services and reduce congestion and carbon emissions.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said “Free bus passes enable many older people and people with disabilities to lead lives that are more active and fulfilling. We must be clear, however, that spending on such schemes gives good value for money to the taxpayer.”

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