Issue details

23/00053 - Maintain Kent Travel Saver Price in 2023/24 and Revised Price Uplift Cap in Future Years

Proposed decision

To agree the ticket price for the Kent Travel Saver (KTS) as:


• For financial/academic year 2023/24, the cost of the standard travel pass to be maintained at £450 and the low-income pass at £120, through the use of funding provided by the Government’s National Bus Strategy.


• To maintain the current instalments process.


• To maintain the current £10 administration fee for those paying via instalments on a standard pass


• To maintain the current sibling offer, where family who have more than two children eligible for the KTS, will pay no charge for any additional pass beyond two.


• To maintain the current free pass arrangement for those in care, carers, and care leavers.


• For future years, increases in the cost of the standard and/or the low-income pass to match forecasted operator cost inflation.  Whereas in previous years, increase in pass cost was capped at 5%, of the gross costs of the scheme.


Reason for the decision

The current decision in respect to the KTS was taken back in 2015 and set the framework for how price increases to the KTS would be applied, in subsequent years, taking account of operator cost inflation. For 2023/24, to accommodate a change to the approach that has been taken since 2015 and to set a framework for the future, a new decision is required.



The National Bus Strategy (NBS) was launched in March 2021.  Kent CC received an initial allocation of £35M from NBS and during the course of 2022, discussions took place with DfT to deliver this funding.  Due to the funding review that has taken place in Govt since Autumn 2022, it has not been possible for Department for Transport (DfT)  to deliver the initial allocation, which would have been spent over three years.  Instead KCC has received £19.9m, to be spent in 2023/24.  The allocation has been split, as £12.5m capital and £6.4m revenue.


Within the revenue allocation, we have approval from the DfT, to use an element as a fares & ticketing promotion.  Under this element, we have approval, to use revenue from our Bus Service Improvement Plan allocation to maintain the current cost of the Kent Travel Saver for 2023/24 and, alongside this to promote the use of the KTS for travel to school. 


The other elements of the scheme would remain as currently provided.


Options (other options considered but discarded)

To increase the cost of the Kent Travel Saver to cover anticipated operator inflation for 2023/24 and inflation for 2022/23.  This equates raising the cost of the pass by £180 to £630  based on 14,500 standard passes, with no other changes to the scheme. This would be in-line with the with County Council budget approved on 19 February 2023. However, this would be significant increase in the cost of the pass, at a time of a significant cost of living crisis and family budgets are being stretched.  Under the recently approved Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) allocation, granted under the National Bus Strategy, there is an opportunity to not proceed with this price increase in 2023/24.


How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026:

The decision supports Priority 2: Infrastructure for communities and the specific commitment Work with our partners through the Kent Enhanced Bus Partnership and with Government to explore sustainable and commercially viable options for providing bus transport to meet people’s needs, making the best use of Bus Service Improvement Plan funding.


Data Protection implications   

There are no identified data protection implications in respect of this decision.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/05/2023

Decision due: Not before 14th Jun 2023 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Consultation process

No public consultation is required.


Cabinet Committee consultation planned: Environment and Transport on 23rd May 2023

Financial implications: The recommendation defers the budget County Council decision to increase the charge for the KTS pass for one year. To maintain the price of the KTS at 2022/23 levels, it is estimated that £2.606M will be required based on current usage, which is £1.018M inflation shortfall from 2022/23 and £1.488M inflation for 2023/24. The cost of the KTS pass in 2024/25 will need to rise to cover operator inflation for 2024/25, 2023/24 and 2022/23, unless alternative funding is identified.

Legal implications: There are no identified legal implications in respect of this decision.

Equalities implications: There are no identified equalities implications in respect of this decision.