Working papers in Transport Economics
Geoffrey Andrews, Graham Parkhurst, Yusak O. Susilo
The grey escape: investigating older people's use of the free bus pass
() and Jon Shaw
Abstract: Since 2008 most older people in England have benefited
from unlimited area-wide free travel by bus after the morning peak period.
The official policy rhetoric supporting implementation of the measure drew
significantly on the need to reduce social exclusion amongst older people.
However, despite a substantial increase in the number of concessionary
journeys in England and the associated cost liabilities for local
authorities and possibly also operators, there is currently only limited
understanding of the wide ranging effects on bus use of providing a free
pass, and in particular to whom benefits from the policy accrue. In part,
this circumstance results from a methodological focus by evaluation studies
hitherto that has emphasised aggregate-level data, often at the expense of
the very rich contextual information about how the individual benefits from
using a pass. This article presents insights into the perceptions,
motivations and decisions relating to use of free bus passes, highlighting
the existence of both tangible and intangible benefits which arise. It
offers a fresh insight into previously undefined uses and benefits derived
from possessing and using a concessionary bus pass. This article concludes
by noting possible policy implications of the research in the context of
the UK’s ageing population and for other international contexts where the
transport intervention of free bus travel is being considered.
Keywords: bus travel; older people; subsidy; public transport; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: H29; I18; O18; (follow links to similar papers)
13 pages, December 13, 2011, Revised December 14, 2011
This paper is published as: Andrews, Geoffrey, Parkhurst, Graham, Susilo, Yusak O. & Shaw, Jon, (2012), 'The grey escape: investigating older people's use of the free bus pass', Transportation Planning and Technology, Vol 35, Issue 1, pp. 3–15. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03081060.2012.635413
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