I feel that I must reply to the letter from Adam Gould about “benefit scroungers” in last week’s Derbyshire Times.
First of all, I agree with him that all residents should take part in the consultation currently being carried out by Derbyshire County Council about the cuts to subsidised bus services, although it must be remembered that a similar exercise a few years ago resulted in the cuts proposed going ahead any way with very little (if any) changes - so much for listening to residents’ views! We shall wait and see!
Where I must disagree with him however, is in his stance over the use of the free bus pass. In a recent report “Case for the bus pass” presented to the House of Commons on September 9 by the organisation Greener Journeys, research showed that for every £1 spent on concessionary travel for the aged and disabled, a return of £2.87 is generated for the economy and society.
I am afraid that I may be a little biased as I am one of these “benefit scroungers” that Mr Gould refers to!
I do have a car and there are certain journeys which I make which would be difficult to make by bus. However, I do make many journeys by bus using my concessionary pass when I have a choice, as I know many of my friends and neighbours do (I will even admit to occasionally being one of those riding around all day for the sake of it!).
However,by doing this, I am cutting down on congestion, pollution and leaving the parking space for someone more deserving than myself, and we all know how difficult that can be at certain times and in certain places!
Insiders in the bus industry (of which I have never been a part), also reckon that if the concessionary pass was to be withdrawn, up to 25 per cent of commercial bus services could disappear as without the “tiny fraction of the actual fares” the services would no longer be viable and I doubt very much if local authorities would then add those services to their subsidised networks.
No, I am sorry Mr Gould your views are rather shortsighted, however what this country needs is a properly funded concessionary scheme together with adequate funds to subsidise rural, evening and Sunday bus services, lets get the aged and disabled out as much as we can, after all that helps individuals well being and saves on the health care budget, or would Mr Gould like to see the abolition of free precriptions for those groups as well?