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Questions Over Cost of Bus Pass Deal

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8:01am 16th December 2012

There are fears Cornish taxpayers could be hit by changes to free bus passes.

The council agreed a new deal with Western Greyhound over how it is paid for carrying pensioners and disabled people.

It is claimed that could land taxpayers with a half a million pound bill.

Robert Oxley from the Taxpayers Alliance:

“Are free bus passes the best way to help pensioners? Many pensioners do enjoy their free travel but actually wouldn’t it be more sensible to take less off them in the first place? So then they can decide whether they want to spend it on bus travel and then we don’t have the whole administration system of this scheme.

“ The point here is, which is what this makes clear, is that there’s no such thing as a free bus pass. Ultimately somebody is paying. The problem here is that we need some transparency of the cost so we can judge whether we are getting value for money.”

Bosses at Western Greyhound told Pirate FM the deal will help secure some of Cornwall's routes. But MD Mark Howarth says government cuts are still making things hard: 

“We’ve had to cut some services at the beginning of December because they were not paying their way so this will go a long way to saving that. We’ve spent 12 years growing Western Greyhound and we want to be able to provide the best possible network that we can.

 “Whilst we’re not out of the woods because I think the local authority budgets and government budgets are obviously still under threat and still under pressure, but we will work with Cornwall to try and mitigate that as far as possible.”

 

8:01am 16th December 2012

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