An initiative aimed at encouraging more people to make use of their free bus pass has been launched by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, in partnership with local bus operator Morebus.
Operating a range of services throughout the region, Morebus links Bournemouth, Poole, Ringwood, Blandford, Wimborne and Swanage.
The campaign, ‘It’s Free to go by Bus’, has been launched alongside the UK government’s ‘Take the Bus’, with the intent to promote bus travel to concessionary passholders by showcasing financial, social, accessible and sustainable benefits.
Statistics show that national concessionary journeys have reduced by 36% since the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting that many people have not returned to using bus services since being warned away for health reasons in 2020.
Cllr Andy Hadley, portfolio holder for climate response, environment and energy at BCP Council, said: “This campaign looks to promote its value further and, during such challenging financial times, we hope it will enable people to save some money as well.”
The initiative also highlights the environmental benefits of buses: one double-decker can take 75 cars off the road, helping to reduce congestion and carbon emissions, according to BCP Council.
“Running a car can be expensive, both financially and environmentally, but by getting the bus, you will help protect our coastal resort and preserve it for future generations,” continued Hadley.
What’s more, to help combat this, the Department for Transport’s (DfT) £2 fare cap has also been extended until the end of October, restricting the national cost of a single bus fare as part of the government’s ‘Help for Households’ initiative.
Also, any paying adult or concessionary passholder can also take up to two children aged seven or under onto the bus with them free of charge.
Anybody of state pension age (66 or over), or those with a qualifying disability, can apply for their free bus pass online.
Julian McLaughlin, director of infrastructure at BCP Council, added: “If you are of state pension age, or have a qualifying disability, we strongly encourage you to consider applying for a free bus pass, which will allow you to travel for free and use your money for more enjoyable things.”