I believe ensuring disabled and elderly people can continue to benefit from free off-peak bus travel should be a key priority for the Government. It is therefore extremely welcome that Ministers have amended legislation in order to protect the free bus travel scheme for years to come. This means that elderly and disabled people can remain connected with their towns and cities.
Since 2007, passengers over the age of 65 or with a disability have been entitled to off-peak travel on buses for free. You may be interested to know that around 10 million people across the country are gaining from free off-peak bus travel.
I understand that legislation in this area has been amended to remove the need for it to be reviewed every five years. This means that those who make use of free bus travel have the certainty they deserve.
In addition to the substantial investment in the bus pass scheme, the Government provides around £250 million a year in England directly for bus services, which reflects very clearly the Government's commitment to bus passengers and services. I am particularly pleased that £40 million of this funding ensures the bus routes which may not be commercially viable but are deemed to be socially necessary, receive funding.