Thursday, 13 August 2009

Karl Marx and bus passes for pensioners

I think the big difference between a good care home and a great care home is having the opportunity to go on trips or do something extra on a regular basis. You don't have to take the opportunity. We don't all like opera or pop music but we all want opportunities even if it is just to say no thanks. Think of it as going into work and talking about what you did at weekend. You might not do anything special but you could still talk about the football or a film on television. It really doesn't matter what it is as it is just a subject for conversation and something different has happened.

Now put yourself in the position of the majority of pensioners. They have a bus pass and they have no financial excuse for doing something different. They can get on the bus and visit the local town or venture further afield. I didn't travel too far at weekend but I have never been to Ingleton or Clapham, both are lovely places. I was listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 two days ago and the subject of bus passes was discussed because it is so expensive. There were people speaking for and against the passes.

My view is that if the passes are taken off the pensioners then we will head for revolt. Marx said raise expectations and then lower them and you get revolt. Karl would be waiting for the pensioners' revolt. It costs money to provide free transport but a system that limits this benefit would be costly to run and whenever you get a safety net you get a poverty trap. The people in the poverty trap are the people who have worked hard all their lives and find that they cannot afford to get out for the day.

If the bus pass scheme is stopped then pensioners may lose their topic of conversation. I believe this is vital to the health of the nation. It might be expensive to allow pensioners to have free travel on the buses, but the cost of taking away this benefit could be increasing ill health or even revolution.

Change the world


  1. Rio Bellgore-Gullit13 August 2009 at 18:01

    Government discriminated against psychiatric in their disabled categories, but Isle of Wight Council issued Islander card free bus pass to those affected, valid only on the IW. Don't have car so buses are my only mode of transport and don't want my pass revoked. Do voluntary work and belong to Ramblers & singles' club - need it to get to venues

  2. The scheme helps to take traffic off the roads.
    Additionally, it puts bums on seats of many buses at off peak times when they often run at much less than full capacity.
    Many routes receive financial support from local/central government. So, this scheme helps to maximise passenger numbers at off peak times.
    Also, on the non-grant routes it helps to maintain passenger numbers this sustaining a better overall public service.