Policy paper

Support to help with the cost of transport

Published 5 December 2013

1. Concessionary bus travel

In 2012-13, 9.7 million older people and disabled people made £1,016 million bus journeys using a statutory English National Concessionary Travel Scheme pass – the scheme provides travel for free on local bus services anywhere in England, between 0930 and 2300 during weekdays and anytime at weekends and bank holidays.

The scheme is administered at a local level by Travel Concession Authorities (TCA). Many TCAs provide enhancements to the statutory scheme, which for example allow for free or discounted travel before 0930 or on other modes of transport.

2. Rail Cards

A range of railcards are available that offer discounts on rail travel. These include:

16-25 Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off rail fares to those aged 16-25 or full time students. It is reported to provide an average saving of £145 per year.

Family and Friends Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off rail fares to those travelling with children aged 5-15. It is reported to provide an average saving of £117 per year.

Senior Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off rail fares to those aged over 60. It is reported to provide an average saving of £83 per year.

Network Railcard

Provides up to 1/3 off rail fares for the cardholder and up to 3 others in London and the South East.

Disabled person’s Railcard

Provides up to 1/3 off rail fares for the card holder and a companion. It is reported to provide an average saving of £94 per year.

HM Forces Railcard

This provides up to 1/3 off adult rail fares and 60% off kids’ fares for members of the Regular forces, their spouses and dependent children aged 16 or 17.

Regional Railcards

A number of other railcards are offered for use in specific geographical locations or on certain lines of a route.

3. Support for young people

Local authorities offer a range of travel support for young people. These include:

Home to School Transport

Local authorities currently spend around £1 billion every year providing free transport to and from school. At a minimum this covers pupils travelling more than 2 miles (for those under 8 years of age), pupils travelling more than 3 miles (for those aged 8 or over) and those unable to walk to school due to their Special Educational Needs.

Extended Rights to Free Home to School Transport

There is an additional entitlement to free travel for children from low income families (that is those entitled to free school meals or whose parents receive the maximum working tax credit). Local authorities were allocated around £38 million in 2013-14 to provide this transport.

Care to Learn

Care to Learn provides support with the cost of childcare and associated travel costs to ensure these do not prevent young parents (under the age of 20) from participating in education. Care to Learn supports around 6,500 young parents every year.

16-19 bursary

The bursary provides support for those aged 16-19 participating in education or training who face additional barriers to staying in education. The most vulnerable young people may be entitled to a bursary of at least £1,200 per year while discretionary bursaries are provided at the discretion of education providers.

Discretionary learner support

Those aged 19 or over and facing financial hardship could be eligible for support through the discretionary learner fund. This includes support for the cost of travel (e.g. through the provision of travel passes or reimbursing the cost of fuel).

4. Support for the unemployed

Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

This is provided to those unemployed claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s). Other benefit recipients may receive a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from 3 months of their claim and if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. Cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets.

Flexible support fund

May be used at the discretion of Jobcentre Plus staff to help with the cost of travelling to an interview, training or for the first months of travelling to work.

Further information on the support available for the unemployed can be found in your local Jobcentre Plus office. See more details on how to contact your local Jobcentre Plus office