Concessionary Travel

Concessionary Travel

Concessionary bus travel is an important element of the public transport scene, delivering access to key services and facilitating social inclusion.  Concessionary trips now make up a significant proportion of all bus patronage in the UK, with national schemes in place in England, Scotland and Wales.

The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) for Older and Disabled people was brought to its current form in April 2008.  Although the statutory travel entitlement is set at a national level, concessionary travel schemes are administered and funded at upper tier local authority level. 

ITP has a strong track record in supporting local authorities with establishing, operating and administering concessionary travel schemes under the ENCTS, and in evaluating the impacts and financial implications of those schemes.  We also assist local authorities with setting up and operating concessionary travel schemes for young people.  This includes feasibility and cost-benefit assessment, financial appraisal and engagement with local bus operators.



  • Defining scheme arrangements
  • Operator negotiations
  • Financial modelling and monitoring
  • Reimbursement administration
  • Data validation and audit, including surveys
  • Dealing with cost claims and appeals
  • User satisfaction and usage surveys


Concessionary Travel in Brighton

Project Examples

Nottinghamshire concessionary travel scheme support - Since March 2006, ITP has worked with Nottinghamshire County Council to support, monitor and evaluate their county-wide concessionary travel scheme, which caters for over 120,000 older and disabled people. This has involved close working with a range of stakeholders, including the county council, district councils and public transport operators to develop appropriate scheme documents and reimbursement arrangements each year, using a range of modelling tools. We negotiate and liaise with operators on behalf of the council throughout the year, and deal with any claims for additional reimbursement and any operator appeals to the Secretary of State for Transport.  ITP is also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the scheme, and we have undertaken a number of survey activities including a major behavioural and attitudinal postal survey with 9000 passholders.

Portsmouth concessionary travel scheme administration and support - ITP has been administering and monitoring Portsmouth City Council’s concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people since it was established as a standalone scheme in early 2010. This includes all operator data collection, monitoring and audit functions, and advising the council on payments to be made to each operator.  We also provide expert reimbursement advice. ITP is also responsible for determining operator reimbursement arrangements in negotiation with operators, for producing scheme notices and for dealing with any appeals or legal issues that arise from the scheme.

Lincolnshire concessionary travel scheme consultancy support - ITP was appointed by Lincolnshire County Council in 2010 to provide advice and support in administering the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. This involves determining appropriate operator reimbursement arrangements using the latest Department for Transport reimbursement calculator, in consultation with operators. ITP’s role also includes liaising with operators, providing ongoing expert advice when issues arise with the scheme, carrying out survey and data validation exercises, and providing general advice on policy developments. 

Derbyshire concessionary travel scheme consultancy support - ITP was appointed by Derbyshire County Council to support and advise them on determining and implementing appropriate operator reimbursement arrangements for the Derbyshire and Derby City 2011-12 concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people.  Our role initially included conducting analyses and calculations in line with DfT guidance and conducting operator negotiations based on these.  We also undertook a review of the way that the scheme was being administered (including data collection, processing and audit checking) and advised the council on efficiency improvements and supported them in implementing those improvements.  Our remit was subsequently extended to include supporting the Council in implementing a revised version of their young persons "b_line" concessionary travel scheme, which included financial modelling of different options, negotiation with operators, and production of new scheme documents.

Brighton & Hove concessionary travel reimbursement advice - ITP was appointed by Brighton & Hove City Council in early 2009 to provide expert reimbursement advice for their concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people.  We have developed annual reimbursement arrangements for the scheme each year since then, in line with national guidance and using a range of modelling tools and approaches.  We negotiate with bus operators to attempt to reach consensus on fair reimbursement for revenue foregone and additional operator costs.  ITP is then responsible for advising on additional cost claims from operators and for dealing with any appeals or legal issues that arise from the scheme.  Our role extends for a four year period following a recent two year extension.

Local Government Association (LGA) concessionary fares advice - ITP was appointed by the Local Government Association to review and comment on the development of new Department for Transport guidance on reimbursing operators for carrying concessionary passengers. This guidance was being revised in light of outputs from extensive research undertaken by ITS Leeds.  ITP's role was to consider the draft guidance in the light of our experience of working with non-PTE local authorities on concessionary travel scheme administration and operator reimbursement.  We made several key suggestions that were put forward by LGA to help the Department for Transport improve the draft guidance. 

Plymouth concessionary travel scheme: review and technical support - ITP has been working to provide technical advice and support to Plymouth City Council on its concessionary travel scheme since 2007.  Initially, we carried out a review of historical reimbursement arrangements in Plymouth in order to fully understand the path taken to arrive at the concessionary scheme in effect for 06/07.  Since that time we have supported Plymouth in developing reimbursement arrangements, negotiating with operators and publishing scheme documents on an annual basis.  We also advise on responses to additional cost claims and any appeals, including compiling the evidence and data required and responding to any queries from the DfT. 

Nottingham City Council concessionary travel scheme support – We act as an expert resource to support Nottingham City Council in managing, monitoring and administering their concessionary travel scheme.  Over a number of years, we have:

Review of Cheshire countywide concessionary travel scheme  - ITP was commissioned to undertake a full review of the Cheshire countywide concessionary travel scheme, with a particular focus on examining operator reimbursement with a view to reducing potential cost over-runs.  Our work included: