Over £140,000 has been raised from concessionary park and ride users since April 2016, whilst the number of residents using the service dropped by 25,000.
Last year the Conservative Cabinet agreed to charge concessionary pass holders to use park and ride services in the county, a move Labour warned would drive down use of the service and put an unfair burden on those who are most in need of support.
Under the previous system introduced by the last Labour Government older people or people with disabilities were given free travel across the Country. Until April 2016 that was honoured in Gloucestershire, however the Conservative Cabinet agreed to begin charging those passengers to use its Park and Ride services as a way to fix the black hole in their budget. This new scheme has seen the Conservative’s raise £144,000 from these passengers, whilst numbers using the service have dropped by a massive 25,000.
Labour County Councillor Barry Kirby (Grange and Kingsway), shadow member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure said: “We warned the Conservatives that this would be a disaster and we were right. We now know that the number of service users has dropped by a huge amount; we know that this has become a stealth tax on concessionary travellers, and we said that this would have had a detrimental effect on our City. A Labour run council would reverse this move.”
Tuffley County Councillor Tracy Millard (Labour) said: “This is a disgraceful attack on some of the most hard-pressed residents in the county. It also does a disservice to Gloucester as it puts people off visiting and working here. Questions have to be asked about what this does to our already record high levels of loneliness and isolation in the older population. I’m not sure what the Tories are trying to achieve, but I think the burden shouldn’t be put on people who need concessionary travel passes. I guess that’s the difference between what I stand for, and what they do. ”
Questions to Council (March 2017):
23. Questioner’s name: Cllr Barry Kirby Respondent’s name: Cllr Nigel Moor
To: Cllr Nigel Moor
Will the Cabinet member give me details of much revenue has been raised from the additional costs placed park and ride users, please break your response down by each park and ride site.
To: Cllr Kirby
In 2015/16 free travel for concessionary bus pass holders on park and
rides cost the council £222k. The £1 fare introduced on 1/4/16 for concessionary card holders to use the park and ride services is expected to save £144k during the current year: £67k at Arle Court plus £77k in reduced payments to Stagecoach for the services they provide at the Racecourse and Waterwells Park and Ride sites.