Thursday 7 October 2004

Is the bus pass past its sell-by date?

I must admit that the Council-owned Lothian Buses provides an excellent service in Edinburgh. When I first bought a flat here in 1995 the cheapest fare was 45p. It then rose to 50p, then 60p and now is 80p. That's quite a jump in nine years. But should we blame pensioners?
BUS passengers in Edinburgh are "unjustly" paying artificially high fares to help fund free travel for old-age pensioners, the city’s main operator said yesterday.
Some bus users don't like the subsidies:
The National Federation of Bus Users expressed fears about the "huge cost" of such schemes and agreed that it was unfair. Dr Caroline Cahm, its chairman, told the committee she was concerned that pensioners were receiving preferential treatment. She said: "It is not consistent with natural justice to subsidise free travel for one section of the community at the expense of the others."
In principle I agree with this. But one reason why (some) pensioners are poor is because they have to pay tax on their income from savings. After forty-odd years of working and paying tax it's a bit much to be clobbered again on one's interest earnings. If we abolished this tax - even if only for pensioners - then it might be uncontroversial to get rid of the subsidised bus fares.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Harry Powell
The best solution to coffin-dodgers clogging up the buses would be to take anyone over 65, sew them into a sack, and throw them into the sea. The fit ones will be able to fight their way out of the sack and swim to safety. The rest will be ecologically disposed of. It's harsh, I know, but it's nature's way...

29 October 2004, 12:41:52 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
You are rather ageist in your range of friends. Old people can be quite entertaining company!

8 October 2004, 15:37:43 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Oh yeah... I forgot. 
You told me months ago. Short term memory failure. 
I wish you would highlight imminent jokes better. As previously stated I tend to take things literally.

8 October 2004, 15:35:08 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Duffin
There you go again Stuart. I told you, I haven't voted Tory since 1987.  
My comment about bus passes was firmly tongue-in-cheek; only one of my friends is over 60, and he rides a rather powerful motorbike.

8 October 2004, 12:44:51 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Andrew is a typical Tory. He opposes subsidies for other people, but rather likes them when he and his cronies are the beneficiaries. 
No wonder David McLetchie is in trouble.

7 October 2004, 13:17:49 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Duffin
Shame on them all! 
Now that some of my friends are in their sixties, it's really rather convenient that they can get all the way to (say) Oban for nothing. 
Makes crew changes so much simpler, you know.

7 October 2004, 12:18:31 GMT+01:00