The grey escape: Investigating older people's use of the free bus pass
Andrews, G., Parkhurst, G., Susilo, Y. and Shaw, J. (2012) The grey escape: Investigating older people's use of the free bus pass. Transportation Planning and Technology, 35 (1). pp. 3-15. ISSN 0308-1060
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03081060.2012.635413
Since 2008 most older people in England have benefitted from unlimited area-wide free travel by bus after the morning peak period. The official policy rhetoric supporting implementation of the measure drew significantly upon 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 have emphasised aggregate-level data, often at the expense of the very rich contextual information about how the individual benefits from using a pass. This paper presents insights into the perceptions, motivations and decisions relating to use of 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. The paper 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.
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