Proposed decision –
To increase the cost of the standard Kent Travel Saver from £370 per academic year to £450 and to increase the cost of the low-income Kent Travel Saver from £120 per academic year to £150.
These price increases to be effective from the opening of the 2022/23 academic year Kent Travel Saver application window, in early June 2022.
Reason for decision
The previous decision for determining the annual uplift for Kent Travel Saver passes caps any price uplift at 5% of gross cost of the scheme. Due to the budget challenge facing the authority in 2022/23 and a need to increase income to the scheme, reduce cost, we need a price uplift for 2022/23 that would exceed the 5% cap.
The Kent Travel Saver is a discretionary concessionary travel pass, for students in school years 7 to 11. For an annual fee, students can use the pass to travel between the hours of 06.00-19.00 Monday to Friday throughout the year. The fee can be paid in full or through a direct debit process.
The scheme provides reduced travel cost to the scheme user, compared to operator tickets.
A number of bus operators, who participate in the scheme, at their discretion and cost, provide additional evening/weekend travel at no cost to the user.
Since 2015, a cabinet decision has governed the increases in cost to the Kent Travel Saver and its predecessor the Young Persons Travel Pass. Under this decision, the cost of the standard pass increased in line with operator fare increases and was capped at 5% of the gross cost of the scheme divided by the number of standard passes in circulation.
The budget challenge facing the authority in 2022/23 means that there is a need to reduce the cost of the scheme significantly, which means raising income more than operator inflation and more than 5% of the gross cost of the scheme. This would raise an estimated £900k income.
All other elements of the scheme would remain as is.
Officers are tasked with developing a more financially sustainable alternative for 2023/24, to be reported on later.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 23/12/2021
Decision due: Not before 21st Jan 2022 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead director: Simon Jones
Contact: Philip Lightowler, Interim Director of Transportation Tel: 03000414073 Email: Philip.Lightowler@kent.gov.uk Tel: 03000414073.
Financial implications: The increase in cost proposed is for the year 2022/23 and is estimated to provide £900K in additional income, so reducing scheme cost accordingly. Options • To increase the price in line with the current key decision criteria. This will not deliver the increased income target for the scheme. • To increase the price by greater than inflation to meet the increased income level. This is the preferred option.
Legal implications: No legal obligations identified.
Equalities implications: An initial EqIA has been completed and no equalities implications identified.