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Older people’s use of concessionary bus travel

Bus
Researchers: Alun Humphrey
Published: April 2012

Aim

We conducted a quantitative analysis of bus pass ownership and use to inform the debate around the provision of concessionary bus travel for older people in England.

Findings

High levels of concessionary pass ownership and use

  • A clear majority (77%) of those eligible on the grounds of age own a concessionary bus pass.
  • 52% of concessionary pass holders use their pass at least once a week.
  • Almost all (98%) bus trips made by those eligible for a pass are made by concessionary pass holders.

Factors behind concessionary pass ownership

  • People aged between 70 and 84 are significantly more likely to own a pass than those aged 60-70.
  • Women are more likely to own a pass.
  • Some evidence to suggest those earning over £30,000 a year are less likely to own a pass.
  • People who have never worked or are long-term unemployed are least likely to own a pass.
  • Renters are less likely to own a pass than home-owners.
  • Frequency of bus services significantly affects chances of owning a pass.
  • People without access to private transport are more likely to own a pass.
  • People who have difficulties with going out on foot, or difficulties with using local buses, are less likely to own a pass.

Factors influencing concessionary bus pass use

  • Pass-owners of 85 or over are less likely to use their pass at least once a week than people aged 60-69.
  • Female pass owners are more likely to use their pass once a week or more.
  • People with a more frequent bus service are more likely to use their pass weekly or more often.
  • People who live more than 14 minutes’ walk from a bus stop are less likely to use their pass frequently.
  • People without access to a private vehicle are more likely to be frequent users of the pass.
  • People who have difficulties with going out on foot, or difficulties with using local buses, are less likely to use their pass frequently.

Three main reasons for non-ownership/infrequent pass use

  • car ownership
  • health problems
  • availability of bus services

Methodology

Secondary analysis of National Travel Survey data combined with specially-commissioned questions placed on an omnibus survey.

Read the report