Fare concessions for older people: identifying the numbers

Document type
Report
Author(s)
Leach, Jeremy
Publisher
Intergenerational Foundation
Date of publication
17 May 2013
Subject(s)
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Older Adults
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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In Britain most of the over 60s are given a generous taxpayer-funded subsidy to use public transport. But how do people actually use this in practice? And how much does it cost?

In order to investigate how people use age-related fare concessions, IF analysed passenger surveys produced by the Department for Transport. Among other significant findings, these revealed that over £71 million is spent by the government each year funding the commutes of older workers who receive age-related travel subsidies – a discovery which raises many significant questions about whether this is either fair or the best use of public money, especially given that the cost of transport is a major barrier preventing many unemployed young people from finding work.

The report also argues that universal travel subsidies are highly regressive, possessing a greater value for better-off pensioners because they are given tax-free. This should stimulate debate about whether Britain’s transport policy does the maximum amount of public good, and whether it is fair to members of all the generations, regardless of age.