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 Available from:

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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.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:bus travel, older people, subsidy, public transport
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Geography and Environmental Management
ID Code:16115
Deposited By: J. Triggle
Deposited On:06 Dec 2011 10:31
Last Modified:02 Aug 2016 15:15

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