Concessionary Fares: Trip Generation Among Elderly Passengers



Concessionary Fares: Trip Generation Among Elderly Passengers

Authors

BALCOMBE R J, ASTROP A J, Transport Research Laboratory and HILL E, The MVA Consultancy, UK

Description

Under current legislation (Transport Act 1985), local authorities may provide concessionary travel arrangements for women aged 60 years or more and men aged 65 years or more. Authorities limning such schemes are required to reimburse transport operators f

Abstract

Under current legislation (Transport Act 1985), local authorities may provide concessionary travel arrangements for women aged 60 years or more and men aged 65 years or more. Authorities limning such schemes are required to reimburse transport operators for any consequent loss of revenue. In the calculation of this lost revenue proper allowance must be made for additional revenue resulting from journeys generated by the concessionary fare scheme, that is journeys which would not be made at all in the absence of the scheme.

Reliable estimates of the "generation factor" (defined here as the ratio of the nnmber of concessionary trips by elderly people to the munber of trips they would make if there were no concession and they were charged full fares) are therefore essential for reimbursement negotiations between operators and authorities. However, in practice they have proved difficult to determine. A number of cross-sectional studies have been made (eg Goodwin et al 1988; O'Reilly 1990), but variations between different places in factors not directly related to fare concessions complicate analysis and the ' results can only indicate fairly wide ranges for generation factors.

Another approach is to analyze changes in demand for concessionary travel when there are significant changes in sebemes. Such a "before and after" study was made when concessionaires were charged a flat fare instead of travelling free in Tyne and Wear (Balcombe and Astrop 1995). Various difficulties in interpreting the results of these surveys led to a considerable degree of tmcertalnty in the generation factor derived from it, which was '~bstzntlally higher than that which had been used in previous reimbursement caleulatiom, and higher than those found in previous research.

In 1995, the Department of Transport commissioned a new research project, designed to resolve some of the problems encountered in previous attempts to establish generation factors, and to reduce the uncertainty in estimates of reimbursement payable to operators. This project consisted of three parts, of which two were based on analysis of newly available data sources, and one on new surveys of travel by elderly people.

The first part of the project, conducted by MVA on behalf of the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), was essentially a longitudinal study of public transport (mostly bus) demand by elderly people in most metropolitan areas and a few other major conurbations in Great Britain since about 1987. The data had been made available to MVA in the course of studies on behalf of individual authorities, who gave permission for data to be pooled for the purpose of this research. However, for commercial reasons most of the data are subject to confidentiality conditions, and cannot be set out in any detail in a published report.

The second part of the project was a cross-sectional analysis of data from the National Travel Survey (BITS) of 1989-94. These data were much more up to date than those used in the previous study (O'Reilly, 1990), and contained more detail about fare concessions available to respondents.

The third part of the project was a travel diary survey of elderly people living in two pairs of study areas. The two study areas in each pair were matched as closely as possible in respect of topographic and demographic characteristics, and were served by similar levels of bus services, but were on opposite sides of local authority boundaries, so that different fare concessions (if any) were offered to elderly residents. This provided a much better controlled cross-section than the BITS data, but the sample sizes were much Smaller.

Space does not permit full description and discussion of all parts of the project in this paper: a comprehensive report will be published in due course.

Publisher

Association for European Transport