One of CTA’s three strategic priorities is ‘Championing accessible and inclusive transport’ and part of this is representing the interests and value of community transport to those in national and local government.
Recently, a number of members in Wales who operate Section 22 routes got in touch with us to share their concerns around concessionary fare reimbursement. They said that they were having to consider ending some of their Section 22 community bus routes as the current concessionary fare reimbursement arrangements meant that they were unable to cover the journey costs.
After hearing the issues that CTA members Travol Community Transport and ACT were experiencing, we set up a meeting with colleagues in the Welsh Government. They advised that the regulations clearly state operators should be ‘no better and no worse’ off as a result of participating in the concessionary travel scheme.
In practice, however, many community transport operators in Wales running Section 22 routes have been finding themselves worse off, with some making losses of up to £10,000 a year which they have had to use their reserves to cover. Obviously, this wasn’t a sustainable situation.
The CTA team in Wales subsequently put together a discussion paper which set out the current situation and made recommendations for changes. After sharing the paper with Welsh Government and ATCO (the Association of Transport Coordinating Officers), the decision was taken to raise the level of reimbursement for CT operators in Wales that run Section 22 services by adjusting the representative concessionary fare for CT by 8.7%, backed dated to 1st April 2016.
This will make a huge difference to our members who have been affected by this.
“A big thank you to Christine, Carl and everyone else who has been instrumental in convincing ATCO and the Welsh Government that an increase in the concessionary reimbursement rate for CT operators is warranted. On behalf of Travol Community Transport I must say that we are delighted with the increase secured and even more pleased with the fact that the increase is to be backdated”.
Colin, Travol Community Transport
“Free travel for the elderly and disabled is an important part of the public transport system and more passengers with mobility issues are looking to community transport to provide free travel. Changes in the generation rate do not affect section 22 services and we were pleased to support the case made by the CTA to insulate operators in Wales from these changes.”
Richard Cope, ATCO Cymru Chair
Well done to the team in Wales who promptly responded to member concerns and ensured a change in policy that will allow these routes to continue supporting passengers to use their concessionary travel pass to make vital local journeys.