LETTERS: Bus pass holders are like ‘benefit scroungers’, and they are at fault for budget cuts across Derbyshire

This reader claims that bus pass holders are like 'benefit scroungers'. What do you think?
This reader claims that bus pass holders are like 'benefit scroungers'. What do you think?

Bus pass holders have been likened to benefit scroungers by one of our letter writers this week.

The free travel scheme is to blame for cuts being proposed by Derbyshire County Council according to the author. What do you think about the authority’s plans to cut £2 million from itstransport budget?

In a letter sent to the Derbyshire Times, reader Adam Gould wrote:

Derbyshire County Council is currently undertaking a survey of the use of subsidised local bus services, and I would encourage all residents to take part either online or by picking up a form from their local library.

The impending devastation of evening, Sunday and rural bus services is the result of a time bomb that has been ticking for around seven years, namely the free bus pass.

There are over 11 million passholders nationwide, the overwhelming majority are pensioners, and they can, subject to a few very minor restrictions, ride on any bus at any time, whenever and wherever they like, and pay absolutely nothing.

Contrary to popular belief bus companies are not subsidised at all for carrying these people; Derbyshire County Council pays a very tiny fraction of the actual fares as a contribution towards the cost, the rest is met by the bus companies and, in turn, by hardworking, fare paying passengers.

Passholders therefore are no better than other so-called benefit scroungers, taking whatever they can and doing nothing for it.

However Derbyshire County Council now need to cut £2 million from their public transport budget; the contributions to the cost of the free bus passes - as small as they are - having been much higher than expected due to people abusing the scheme, simply riding around on buses all day just because they can, has meant that now there will be fewer and fewer buses but more and more passholders.

And guess who’ll be the first to complain?