Thursday, 15 December 2011

Cambridgeshire Joins Fair Fares Campaign


Cambridgeshire transport chiefs have joined a national campaign to secure fair funding from the Government for its concessionary bus scheme.

Cambridgeshire County Council has signed up to the Fair Fares campaign which was launched by neighbouring Norfolk County Council.

The national scheme and the way it is funded has left Cambridgeshire County Council with a short fall of £900,000 to pick up.

The Government gives the council a lump sum of £4 million to cover the scheme which does not reflect the actual number of journeys made. It costs the authority £4.9 million to run the scheme which provides free travel for 119,000 Cambridgeshire pass holders who undertake approximately 4.8 million journeys.

Councils across the country have backed the campaign asking for the Government to make sure the scheme is funded properly.

Norfolk County Council has set up petitions including an online one at www.norfolk.gov.uk - already thousands of people have pledged their support. Alternatively sign the Fair Fares petition at www.gopetition.co.uk

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Highways and Access, said: "Cambridgeshire has been at the forefront of backing the concessionary fare initiative and providing a comprehensive scheme for bus pass users. However, when the national scheme was changed sufficient funding was not made available to cover the actual number of journeys made. In Cambridgeshire we have to find an extra £900,000 to cover the costs of the scheme. We fully support the scheme and all we are asking Government to do is to relook at the way it funds it and make sure councils are given enough money to cover this vital initiative which provides much needed independence for many people, especially in rural areas."