Travelling to work.

Since being VI and getting my free travel bus pass I've noticed a few things that don't sit well with me.

One is that I was lucky to be able to get an all hours bus pass unlike some of my other friends with Visual impairment and other disabilities. To my mind if one is of working age and has a disability which prevents them from driving then they should get all bus travel within working hours for free.

Instead in many if not most regions people would only get free transport after 9:30. In a lot of cases buying one single ticket a day works out more expensive than buying a weekly saver ticket (they're called "megariders" in Peterborough).

Similarly, if you get a disabled person's railcard you get 1/3 off rail travel, but ONLY if it's not a seaspm toclet. I can understand this for the other types of discount card. If you are a student or a retired pensioner then you are travelling infrequently, for the purposes of leisure or both.

However if you are disabled and want to work then again you have to work out whether it's cheaper to use your disability railcard or chepaer to get a season ticket.

I think it would also save the powers-that-be quite a bit of money if they were to make these two changes (in the case of the railcard offering to subsidise the scheme for the rail companies if they don't do so already. Many making AFW claims would instead turn to these solutions if they found that they could get to work conveniently.

There is also a need to inform businesses about the barrier to work for the blind and other disabled that putting "Needs a full driving licence" in a job advert presents. Back when I was looking for work and rang up to enquire about some of these the reply has simply been that the workplace was difficult to get to via public transport which with AFW doesn't necessarily need to be a problem.

Then there's been the ignorance of bus drivers about disability passes and their annoying habit of pulling away before everyone has sat down despite clearly having the knowledge that a disabled person has only just got on the bus.

So... what does everybody think. Any stories of ignorance from bus drivers or prospective employers?

Comments (5)

Neil_S's picture

Reply to InTheWorldOfTheBlind by Neil_S

Hi there. Yes, some valid points about concessionary travel for us visually impaired.

I think your point about concessionary bus passes and time zones of usage is often caused by the confusion between senior citizens time zones and disabled person's time zones. I have had it once and argued with the driver after travelling into a different local authority area. The driver didn't understand that the pensioners time zone he was working in was different to outside that area and applied it also to disabled concessionary passes. My understanding in England at least is your disabled pass should be valid at any time of day regardless of what local authority area you're travelling in.

Very good point with the disabled railcard comparing to what you would pay as a season ticket to get to work. Perhaps they should invent the Working Age Disabled Rail Card. It would possibly reduce some Access To Work transport claims. But on other hand would probably cause more confusion as to what is the cut-off age for 'retirement'! And would not apply to taxis (unless there was some scheme to get discount on taxi fares also).

The other inconsistency between different bus operators is some allow you to scan with absolutely no option to produce a ticket. Others now stop producing tickets if you're a concessionary pass holder, unless the driver thinks you need one. Even then it does not say where your correct destination is.

Nick's picture

Reply to Neil_S by Nick

Hi Neil/Blind Alley,

My understanding (and I could well be wrong!)is that it's up to the issuing council to decide what concessions it offers on its passes. For instance, Nottingham City Council do allow pre 09:30 but travel within the city but Notts county council do not offer this concession whether within the city or the county. Similarly, I cannot use the tube when in London though Londoners can.

And, though it's nice to get something for nothing, I also see the other side of the coin. Why should a disabled person travel into work free when the disabled person making the same journey to work has to pay?

Mark S's picture

Reply to Nick by Mark S

Hi,
Each council has its own take on cocessionary bus travel, it seems. In my area, passholders pay a flat 50p per journey before 9.30am Monday to Friday. Personally, I think that is fair enough - I doubt the cheapest fare is less than £1 these days - particularly if it ensures the scheme continues. Differences between areas can catch people out, if they are unaware.

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to Mark S by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

Just to point out first to Nick: I'm -Intheworldoftheblind-. Blind Alley is an entirely different individual. Not really offended. Just wanted to clear it up.

There are actually two different disabled passes. One which has a clock with no hands printed on the front which denotes that the pass can be used at any time, the other pass which doesn't have the handless clock is subject to the whims of your local council / bus company.

However I find it kind of incongruous that there are two different cards. The implication is that if you aren't somehow 'disabled enough' you can only travel at certain times of day, like pensioners.

So there are three cards where there is really only a need for two. If you are of working age, or older than working age but still in full time employment and you are also disabled you would need a disabed person's bus pass giving you free transport at all hours.

If you are retired you should have a pensioner's pass regardless of whether you have a disability or not.

Surely the point of the disabled person's pass is an attempt to counterbalance the extra expense of public transport for those who have had other options removed from them.

Superfatbantam's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Superfatbantam

Hi, guys. Just for clarification and only based on my experience, it is entirely up the local authorities to make their own decisions about concessionary travel for disabled people. I looked into this when I was certified partially sighted and was entitled to get a bus pass in my local area - Metro West Yorkshire. At the time I was working in Doncaster and living in Bradford. It is perhaps the cruel fate of someone with a degenerative condition that they may function as anyone else until their sight has deteriorated so far that it becomes medically unfit to do certain things, like drive. One week you are commuting to work in the car, the next you are navigating a 3 journey plan to work and trying to achieve the best deals on the train as well.

In the context of this discussion, South Yorkshire travel was operated by FirstBus and Arriva (both of whom operate under the Metro tag in West Yorkshire) but they operated a disabled traveller concessionary free fare after 9.30am, meaning going into work in a morning I was paying whilst coming home late afternoon/evening I used the pass. Crazy? Well, interestingly, I could use my free local train part of the pass I got from Metro between Wakefield and South Elmsall which is probably more than 2/3 of the train journey leg I did. That said, it still cost nearly as much for the other 2 stops as it did for a full ticket with a Disabled Railcard and in using the free local travel it meant I was on the rattler which stopped at every village and not the big national trains that took a third of the time!

I cannot understand why an English National Concessionary Travel Scheme can be called such when clearly it is at the discretion of each administrative area, ie Local Authority. I was tempted to write to David Blunkett as someone who is visually impaired and in politics to express my incredulence at the different arrangements between West Yorkshire, my constituency, and South Yorkshire, his! I never got round to it and don't work there anymore. Plus I have got A2W now which is a huge help. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_National_Concessionary_Travel_Scheme