A report to the North Lincolnshire Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods offers an alternative option to the new concessionary fare reimbursement scheme approved in January. The new scheme, based on a Department for Transport (DfT) model, would mean a lower reimbursement rate for operators, which Stagecoach and Hornsby indicated could cause tendered services to be handed back, and commercial services to be cut.
The alternative option is to defer the proposed to changes for one year. A "review of the use of concessionary services by eligible customers" would still result in savings of £115,000, while a year's delay would allow further consideration of bus operators concerns, and allow for the Call Connect network across North Lincolnshire to be established during this year. Bus operators provided assurances that retaining the current reimbursement scheme would seem them "continue with the existing transport routes", albeit before the savings of £115,000 were found.
The issue caused by the alternative option is that the savings are less than the £200,000 expected with the DfT model, and less than the £250,000 savings target in the council's budget. Therefore savings in other budgets will be needed regardless of the reimbursement scheme chosen, but these will be £85,000 higher if the DfT model is not introduced.
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