Concessionary travel scheme is just the ticket

The research found that 98% of cardholders are very or fairly satisfied with the scheme which offers free bus travel across Scotland.

As well as the financial savings, the findings also highlight how the scheme has a positive impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of cardholders, allowing individual independence or freedom. This was particularly important for disabled users with 77% saying that having the card helped them improve or maintain their mental well-being, with 63% of all users saying the same.

The scheme has also been encouraging more cardholders to take the bus instead of the car. There was also evidence that it’s encouraging greater physical activity with more people walking to the bus stop.

The positive findings come from year two of a two-part survey, commissioned by Transport Scotland to monitor satisfaction levels among scheme users.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“I am encouraged by the feedback from this two year research project which shows a high level of support for the concessionary bus travel scheme and that more people are choosing to take the bus instead of the car.

“Free bus travel is delivering one of the Scottish Government’s key commitments, one we believe brings important benefits for all our older and disabled people.

“This research has provided valuable information about the scheme and how we can continually improve it to ensure it makes a difference to people’s lives.”

A spokesperson for the Confederation of Passenger Transport said:

“CPT welcomes the publication of this customer feedback research on concessionary travel. It is heartening to find that users of the scheme remain overwhelmingly satisfied with it and with bus travel in general.

“The importance of the scheme to the elderly and disabled is clear to see and CPT remains committed to working with Transport Scotland to ensure that it remains sustainable for the government and the operators who provide the scheme.”

Almost half of people (48%) said they now make journeys that they would not previously have done, in particular for day trips and visiting friends and relatives.

Notes to editors

1. To fill a gap in monitoring the satisfaction with the Scotland-Wide Free Bus Travel for Older and Disabled People Scheme, identified by Audit Scotland, research by Research Resource was commissioned by Transport Scotland.

2. The research project took place over two years (2013-4), with telephone surveys of over 3,000 completed interviews with representative card holders in each year to collect feedback on their use and perception of the scheme as well as on its administration. In addition, a series of Focus Groups were held to go into further detail.

3. Over 1.2 million cardholders currently benefit from the Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People. They made over 145m passenger journeys on local buses in Scotland in 2013-4.

4. Respondents were asked about their use of the NEC in their daily travel, the value they placed on the Card, their views on misuse or abuse of the scheme, and the difference that the NCT scheme made to their lives. The findings are being used to inform and improve the scheme.

5. You can view the publication of year two research on concessionary bus travel customer feedback here

Published 15 Aug 2014