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Concessionary Fares (W15)


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The Council must continue to implement the scheme as prescribed by the Government providing free off-peak local bus travel to eligible older and disabled people anywhere in England. The off peak period covers any time on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, and from 9.30am to 11pm on any other day. 

The current scheme includes a companion pass which is a discretion agreed by the Council. This proposal includes a number of options to try and manage down the anticipated growth in costs associated with this statutory scheme. These include:

  • Returning to the statutory scheme levels by removing the discretionary elements; This means removal of the Disabled person Companion pass, where certain disabled users are issued a pass that allows a companion to travel with them. The companion would not travel free.
  • The introduction of new ICT systems to reduce fraudulent use.
  • reduced assumptions on inflation built in future years budgets

There are currently 635 disabled companion passes (July 2015) in Darlington. i.e.

ENCTS Disability Companion pass holders


Blind or partially sighted


Has a learning disability


Long term disability/injury preventing ability to walk


No arms or lack of use of arms


Not further specified


Profoundly or severely deaf


Unfit to drive


Without speech




These proposals do not guarantee savings but assist in managing demand in the annual negotiations regarding the cost of the service. These will reduce the numbers using the scheme to the statutory minimum and reducing any fraudulent use. The anticipated savings is expected to be £208,000 by 2019/20.


W15 Concessionary Fares



Keywords: voluntary sector VCS

Related FAQs

You’ve got no money but you’re choosing to pay for free bus passes.

You’ve got no money but you’re choosing to pay for free bus passes.

We are not choosing to pay for concessionary bus passes. By law, The Council must administer and fund the scheme which allows those eligible for bus passes to travel for free in the off peak period. We know that many people would be happy to pay for bus travel, but the Government would have to change the scheme. We are proposing to reduce our costs by removing the free pass given to companions of disabled users. There are currently 635 holders of these passes.

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

Your Say

4 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal


Cut W15 (Concessionary Fares)

I am emailing you to ask if you can help in not allowing the withdrawal of companion bus passes. Don't know if you remember I have emailed in the past over cuts to services and this is another one. The person I care for is 47 years old and has Downs Syndrome and cannot travel independently so the pass is very important to his wellbeing as it allows him to socialise and visit different places which can only be beneficial to his mental health,also his healthcare services are two bus rides each way. Once again the disabled, vulnerable and low payed are at the front of cuts. I hope I can count on your support in keeping companion passes.

Cut W15 (Concessionary Fares)

This proposal seems to impact on the most vulnerable people in Darlington. If you have already assessed a person as needing a companion bus pass, surely this shows that without the pass, they will then not be able to use their free buss pass.
For anyone who drives, it is hard to imagine relying solely on public transport, let alone if a person also needs a carer to use this public transport; it is taking away their total ability to be a citizen and take part in their community.

When making the tough decisions that the council has to make, this group of people must be a priority. If you can not travel into the town centre facilities such as the library and market place become little use.

Cut W15 (Concessionary Fares)

Buses are a vital part of my sons social environment. He is very reclusive but we use buses to access his learning and activities suited to his needs. It also means that he can taken out by a carer to access activities. I have estimated this withdrawal of carer pass could cost me up to £20 per week which as I am on benefits as a full time carer I could not find so my son would become even more isolated and deprived of social activities and keeping healthy. It is a mean and low budget cut that would have far reaching implications.

Cut W15 (Concessionary Fares)
FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)

Darlington People's Parliament response to budget proposals