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South Lakeland tax-payer subsidising concessionary bus-fares

December 5, 2007 3:00 PM

Local MP Tim Farron has called for fair fares in South Lakeland. Government policy means that South Lakeland tax-payers are forced to subsidise visitors using bus services, but don't get the same free transport access that is available to other areas.

The Government provides a grant to help councils to give free travel to travellers over 60 or who are disabled through the NoW card scheme. But this grant doesn't take account of the cost of bus travel, the distances involved or the likely take-up of the scheme. South Lakeland spends more on subsidising public transport than other councils, and one of the reasons is that South Lakeland is a popular tourist destination which means that demand for the scheme is extremely high and that - due to the size of the area - bus journeys are longer and more expensive.

Local MP Tim Farron has to Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Transport requesting a meeting regarding the cost to South Lakeland District Council of the NoW Card scheme. As SLDC do not receive any extra funding in recognition of this, they are bearing the brunt of the cost of providing concessionary bus travel in the region.

Tim Farron said:

"I am obviously very supportive of the NoW Card scheme, I am all in favour of providing free travel for older people, indeed I would like to see it extended to youngsters too. South Lakeland District Council have done an excellent job introducing the scheme and have worked hard to make sure that it is well funded and available to all older people and people with disabilities.

"However, I am keen to see that the cost of the scheme is not heaped on one local authority, specifically, South Lakeland District Council. I have written to the Secretary of State to ask for a meeting to discuss the possibility of extra funding to cover the extra costs incurred."