Posted by KC61:
Maybe JJ Kavanagh are a voluntary member of the scheme - as I said above there is no obligation to be a member.
This may well be a "first-instance" of recognition that the DSP Free Travel Scheme is in DEEP distress.
This particular instance may well also have something to do with the particular company`s trading status and the increased requirement to collect actual revenue for services provided rather than the notional system in effect with the DSP.
Most,if not all,participants in the DSP Free Travel scheme will negotiate a rate based upon various arcane formulae or in very few cases actual journey statistics.
I would be prepared to speculate that the DSP has reduced or is refusing to renogotiate upwards on its current arrangements to fund the Public Transport needs of its "customers".
What very few realize is that Free Travel is a misnomer as,in reality,it is anything but Free.
In it`s original form it was an easily managed and administered scheme with only a single annual financial transaction required between the DSW (as it was) and CIE.
The actual divvying out of the Free Travel Scheme funds was then an internal CIE matter.
The initial breakup of CIE in 1987 and the requirement for 3 seperate sets of accounts brought with it a new awareness of the extent of the Scheme Benefits....and costs.
It was the late Michael McDonnell as Chairman of the CIE group who first spotted the worrying capability for the "nod and wink" Free Travel situation to develop into a very large black financial hole for the companies.
Iarnrod Eireann were thus the first of the CIE companies to introduce a requirement to accquire an actual travel ticket upon presentation of one`s Free Pass which then allowed the company to harvest (very) accurate data on its useage patterns.
Both of the Bus Companies however have lagged far behind,for a number of reasons,primarily the reluctance of the Dept of Social Welfare/Protection to agree to a new format digitized pass which would reduce the level of fraud/misuse simultaneously increasing the available travel pattern data.
It also needs to be borne in mind that whilst new Operators such as Luas and Aircoach came on line and others also began to voluntarily enter the Free Travel scheme the total amount of funding has not increased in comparison to the customer base.
Also of significance is the Northern Ireland Offices refusal to entertain this lump-sum approach to the extension of the scheme to a 32 county one.
The NIO/Translink insisted upon the Republic`s customers embracing the NI fully digitized Concessionary
Senior Smartpass thus allowing them to seek prompt payment based upon instant and accurate user data,a feature still not available darn sarff
With the Total Free Travel Funding remaining static but the numbers availing of it,increasing,there can only be one outcome unless somebody gets-a-grip.
The actual figure disbursed in Free Travel Scheme payments can be very difficult to ascertain as the Department and the CIE group tend to muddy the waters somewhat with various alocations to PSO contracts etc.
The main problem now for ALL operators is the large increase in Pass Holders,many of whom now have far more time available to spend "Free" travelling.
The main problem for the Department and those actually funding the scheme (Taxpayers) is the amount of Free Travel Scheme beneficiaries who have accquired Passes on the back of another allowance whilst having little or no Social Welfare contribution history.
Any attempt to promote a debate on the Free Travel Scheme issue is usually blown out of the water by first mention of the Old Age Pension Pass,which although a significant proportion of the Free Travel Scheme is now but only one of a number of subsectors who can avail of its benefits.
Perhaps JJ Kavanaghs Driver may have been overzealous or perhaps from a different ethnic background which has far less tolerance of nodding & winking to our own,but I reckon we shall be seeing and hearing a lot more on this particular topic