B-Line Cards To Be Scrapped in County Council Cuts

Bus and train fare discounts for thousands of Derbyshire school pupils are set to be scrapped.

The popular b_line discount scheme, which offers discounts for people aged 11-19, was first set up in 2001.

However, it is now set to be scrapped, 18 years later, due to budget pressures at Derbyshire County Council.
The authority revealed the planned cut, which will save £88,000, in its five-year financial forecast.

In the last financial year, more than 20,000 b_line cards were issued to Derbyshire residents.

Most of these will be school pupils, but residents who are apprentices or out of school are also eligible.

Those with a b_line 1 card, of which 11,000 were issued last year, will be charged a child fare on the bus or train.

Meanwhile, those with the b_line 2 card, of which 9,300 were issued last year, will get up to a quarter off adult single and return fares on the bus or train.

In its financial forecast, the authority said: “The council will no longer provide a public transport discount card for young people, although some operators will continue to provide discounted rates on their trains and buses.”

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “Our b_line travel and discount card scheme for 11 to 19 year olds has been running since 2001 when there were fewer travel discounts available. In 2015, the discount was reduced to 25 per cent from 33 per cent.
“It is not a service that we legally have to provide and, unfortunately, with our budget pressures we are proposing to remove the scheme.
“Some bus operators currently offer their own fare discounts for 16-18 year olds.
“For example, Trent Barton offer a Mango card for young people that makes single fares cheaper and Stagecoach offers some discounted dayrider tickets.
“If the b_line scheme was to be withdrawn we would work with other operators to see if they were willing to offer their own discounts.
“A national 16-to-17-year-old rail card has also been recently introduced.
“The card costs an annual £30 fee which then offers 50 per cent off rail fares – twice as much as the b_line offer.”
In 2015, when the discount for b_line was reduced from 33 per cent to 25 per cent, the county council had said: “b_line is an optional scheme and although we are having to make unprecedented cuts we recognise the importance of supporting young people in getting out and about, particularly when they may be making the challenging step from education to training or work.”

Eddie Bisknell (LDRS)

Eddie writes for Nailed through the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in partnership with the BBC. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a partnership of media outlets sharing reporters to cover council meetings.

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