Bus pass holders will now have to pay before 9.30am after East Sussex County Council decided to put back the start of free travel by half an hour.
The changes, which come into effect on April 1, have been introduced to try and reduce the county council’s spending on transport. The 2014/2015 budget has been set at £10.9 million.
However, County Hall was quick to point out the 9.30am start time is in line with much of the country and that holders will still be able to benefit from free travel until as late as 11pm.
But anyone who loses their concessionary bus pass will now have to stump up £10 to get a replacement.
The decision to change the start time of the free bus pass was made by the county council’s cabinet following consultation with bus users, which attracted more than 2,600 responses.
Councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for transport and environment, said, “The council needs to make savings of about £110 million over the ten years up to 2020. To achieve these savings we need to look at all the services we provide.
“Unfortunately we don’t have an unlimited budget and one saving identified was to push the start time of the free bus pass back by half an hour.
“Many of the people who responded to our consultation on this were more concerned that the bus services were still available to them rather than that free travel started half an hour later and they would be prepared to make a contribution towards the fares.”
For more information about the concessionary bus pass, who is eligible and how to apply visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/public/concessionaryfares.
As part of the changes to the service, a concession which allows bus pass holders in Lewes district to travel for free on dial-a-ride services, a legacy of former district funding, will be removed, bringing Lewes into line with the rest of the county.
Also from April 1 all passes will now be processed by a central concessionary fares contact centre.
For more information about the concessionary bus pass, who is eligible and how to apply visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/public/concessionaryfares