Older people s use of concessionary bus travel

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1 Older people s use of concessionary bus travel Authors: Alun Humphrey and Andy Scott Statistician: David Hussey Date : April 2012 Prepared for: Age UK

2 At NatCen Social Research we believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone. And as an independent, not for profit organisation we re able to put all our time and energy into delivering social research that works for society. NatCen Social Research 35 Northampton Square London EC1V 0AX T A Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England No A Charity registered in England and Wales ( ) and Scotland (SC038454) This report was commissioned by Age UK. Any views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Age UK We would like to thank those who responded to our survey.

3 Contents Summary of Key Findings Introduction Aims and objectives The analysis National Travel Survey (Chapters 2-4) Omnibus survey (Chapter 5) Concessionary pass ownership Policy and trends in bus pass ownership Personal characteristics Age Gender Number of adults in household Socio-economic characteristics Socio-economic group Annual income Housing tenure Area characteristics Rural/Urban area Access to bus services Access to private transport Access to a car Mobility Multivariate analysis Frequency of concessionary pass use Personal characteristics Age Gender Number of adults in household Socio-economic characteristics...16

4 3.2.1 Socio-economic group Annual Income Housing tenure Area characteristics Rural/Urban area Local bus provision Access to private transport Access to a car Mobility Multivariate analysis Bus travel by older people Use of the bus by older people Bus trips by those eligible for a concessionary pass Bus journeys made by concessionary pass owners Omnibus questions Reasons for not owning a concessionary pass Reasons for not using the pass more often Summary...28 Appendix A Omnibus questions Appendix B Logistic regression tables Appendix C Ownership and frequency combined References... 37

5 Summary of Key Findings This report provides a comprehensive description of the take-up and use of concessionary bus passes amongst those eligible by age in England. As a result of policy changes since 2000, there are very high levels of concessionary pass ownership in England. Of those eligible on the grounds of age, a clear majority (77 per cent) own a concessionary bus pass. Fifty-two per cent of concessionary pass holders use their pass at least once a week. Almost all (98 per cent of) bus trips made by those eligible for a pass are made by concessionary pass holders. Analysis of the National Travel Survey summarised below, shows that a number of personal and socio-economic characteristics are significantly related to pass ownership and to frequency of pass use (among owners). Local area characteristics which affect access to transport also play a part. However, above all, access to a private car and personal mobility are shown to be major factors in both ownership and frequency of use. Factors shown to be significant in multivariate analyses are as follows: Pass ownership Age: People aged between 70 and 84 are significantly more likely to own a pass than those aged Gender: Women are more likely to own a pass Income: There is some evidence to suggest that those earning over 30,000 a year are less likely to own a pass Socio-economic group: Those who have never worked or are long-term unemployed are least likely to own a pass Housing tenure: Those who rent their home are less likely to own a pass than those who own it. Frequency of local bus service: Having a bus service that runs every 30 minutes or more frequently significantly increases chances of owning a pass Car ownership: Those without access to private transport are more likely to own a pass Mobility: People who have difficulties with going out on foot, or difficulties with using local buses, are less likely to own a pass Frequency of pass use (among pass owners) NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 1

6 Age: Pass-owners of 85 or over are less likely to use their pass at least once a week than people aged Gender: Female pass owners are more likely to use their pass once a week or more Access to bus services: o Those with a more frequent bus service are more likely to use their pass weekly or more often o Those who live more than 14 minutes walk from a bus stop are less likely to use their pass frequently Car ownership: Those without access to a private vehicle are more likely to be frequent users of the pass Mobility: People who have difficulties with going out on foot, or difficulties with using local buses, are less likely to use their pass frequently Secondary analysis of NTS data and analysis of Omnibus survey questions reported in Chapter 5 confirm that the main barrier to ownership and regular use is access to a private vehicle, suggesting that a large number of those who do not have a pass simply do not need to use the bus (although, clearly, this does not apply to all those who do not have a pass or use it frequently). In response to direct questions, the three main reasons given for non-ownership and infrequent pass use were: Car ownership: Access to a private vehicle was given by 69 per cent of respondents as a reason for not owning a pass and cited by 74 per cent as a reason for infrequent pass use Health problems: This was the second most commonly given reason for not owning a pass; it was the third most popular for infrequent pass use Availability of bus services: the quality of the local bus service was more likely to be given as a reason for infrequent use ( buses too infrequent : 14 per cent) than for not owning a pass (10 per cent for each). NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 2

7 1 Introduction This paper examines concessionary pass ownership and use amongst those eligible for a concessionary bus pass on the grounds of age in England. NatCen Social Research was commissioned to conduct this research by Age UK, a charitable organisation that exists to improve later life for everyone. It seeks to achieve this through providing information and advice, offering products and services, campaigning, training and research. Age UK s policy position is that concessionary bus travel should be universally available regardless of income, with the age of eligibility based on women s State Pension Age and rising as it rises. 1.1 Aims and objectives This report aims to inform the debate around the provision of concessionary bus travel for older people by providing a quantitative analysis of bus pass ownership and use. Analysis of data from the National Travel Survey (NTS) 2010 and Ipsos-Mori Omnibus survey are used to: 1. Provide detailed information about the use of concessionary bus travel by those eligible on the grounds of age, including: a. Ownership and frequency of use by profile of the user (e.g. age, gender, socio-economic group) b. How use is affected by access to bus services or access to other modes of transport 2. Examine the reasons behind lack of ownership and/or use of the bus pass To meet the first objective, this report uses the National Travel Survey 2010 to obtain a detailed understanding of who owns a bus pass, who uses their pass frequently and what the pass is used for: How many people own a pass? And what factors are related to pass ownership? (Chapter 2) How often are concessionary passes used? What factors are related to frequency of use? (Chapter 3) What do older people use buses for? Is that affected by pass ownership? (Chapter 4) NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 3

8 Chapter 5 then presents the results of Omnibus survey questions, which were geared toward answering the second objective. These directly asked about reasons for not owning, or not using a concessionary pass. 1.2 The analysis National Travel Survey (Chapters 2-4) The National Travel Survey (NTS) 2010 is conducted for the Department for Transport by NatCen. NTS was originally commissioned by the Ministry of Transport in 1965 with a view to understanding the current use of, and predicting the future demand for, Britain s transport infrastructure. It was carried out on an ad-hoc basis through the 1970s and 80s. From 1988 the survey has been continuous. It is the Government s main source of personal travel information in Britain and the data are designated National Statistics by the UK Statistics Authority. NTS uses two main modes of data collection face-to-face interviews and a travel diary completed by everyone in the household. The diary records all travel behaviour over a week. Data collected include the characteristics of participating households and individuals, for example the accessibility of local transport, which is of particular relevance to this paper. In addition, the survey collects information about ownership of concessionary passes and the frequency of their use. In 2010 the survey sample was based on a random selection of 15,048 private households from the Postcode Address File (PAF). A response rate of 60 per cent fully co-operating households was achieved. The total number of individuals for whom data are available is 20,932. More detail on the design and methodology of the National Travel Survey can be found in the 2010 Technical Report 1. This paper uses data only for individuals who are resident in England and are eligible for a concessionary pass on the basis of age. Eligibility rules for concessionary passes in England were revised during the fieldwork period. These changes have been accounted for when selecting eligible respondents. Throughout the report eligible refers to respondents resident in England entitled to a concessionary pass on the grounds of age. In all, this amounts to 4,405 individuals. All tables and figures in chapters 2 to 4 report on data from NTS Data are produced at three levels: household, person and journey/stage: In chapters 2 and 3 we use household and person level data; descriptive analyses are first reported showing the relationship between individual independent variables and either ownership or frequency. We then go on to present logistic regression analysis at the end of each of these chapters to explore the relationships further than descriptive statistics allows us to do so. The analysis in chapter 4 is based on journey/stage data from the travel diary. In this chapter we briefly look at travel behaviour, both in terms of proportion of trips made using buses and the purpose for those trips. 1 NTS Technical Report, 2011 NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 4

9 1.2.2 Omnibus survey (Chapter 5) To contribute to an understanding of reasons for non-ownership and infrequent use, Chapter 5 presents findings from specially-commissioned questions included on Ipsos- Mori s Omnibus survey. The questions ran for two weeks in late October and early November 2011 and were asked, face-to-face, of a nationally representative quota sample of 988 individuals aged 61 years or older in England. The full question list can be found in Appendix A. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 5

10 2 Concessionary pass ownership This chapter focuses on the take-up of concessionary bus passes amongst those eligible by age in England in First, it briefly outlines the policy history and ownership trends over the past decade. It then explores the factors that might affect concessionary pass ownership. Ownership levels are explored against key personal characteristics such as age and gender, then socioeconomic characteristics such as income. Analysis then turns to area characteristics, including urban/rural classification and frequency of bus service, before finishing with factors which affect personal access to transport options access to a car and mobility. 77% of eligible individuals owned a concessionary pass in Policy and trends in bus pass ownership In line with the rest of Britain, concessionary pass ownership in England 2 has seen a steep increase since the late 1990s, largely due to legislative changes in this period: The Transport Act 2000 (effective June 2001) laid down the first national standard for concessionary travel in England, requiring local authorities to provide half fare on all bus services after 9.30am for individuals of pensionable age (women aged 60 or over; men aged 65 or over). The age of eligibility was then equalised to 60 for both men and women in 2003, leading to a small increase in the take-up rate (as can be seen in Figure 2.1). Between 2003 and 2005 pass ownership was essentially stable. Following the introduction of free local bus travel in England in 2006 there was a six percentage point increase from 53 per cent in 2005 to 59 per cent in A further rise to 66 per cent pass ownership is observed in In 2008, the Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007 came into effect which introduced free national fares anywhere in England. By 2010, 77 per cent of those eligible owned a pass, the highest since figures were first reported in NTS in Concessionary fare policy is a devolved issue. As such, the provision of concessionary travel has seen a varied evolution in England, Scotland and Wales. This report deals only with England. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 6

11 Percent Figure 2.1 Concessionary pass ownership Base: those eligible for a concessionary pass in England During the 2010 General Election, concessionary bus travel became a controversial issue, with claims and counter-claims about respective parties plans for its future. More recently, the Westminster coalition government has committed to protect the pass, but to look for efficiencies in its operation. From April 2010 the age of eligibility for a concessionary pass in England began to increase from 60, re-establishing the link between concessionary bus travel and the state pension age. Eligibility is now tied to the pensionable age for women, which is gradually increasing to match the age for men. The Pensions Act 2011 makes provision for this to reach 66 by October 2020, however this timetable is currently subject to review. 2.2 Personal characteristics Age As seen above, overall 77 per cent of eligible individuals owned a concessionary bus pass in Figure 2.2 shows that pass ownership is lowest amongst those aged (73 per cent). This increases to 82 per cent for those aged and 85 per cent for those aged Amongst those aged 85+, however, ownership decreases to 74 per cent data from Dargay & Liu, 2010; 2009 and 2010 data from NTS. 4 Throughout this report, respondents have been divided into four age bands: 60-69, 70-79, and 85+. Separating those aged over 80 into separate bands uncovers some clear differences between those aged and those aged 85+. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 7

12 Percent Figure 2.2 Concessionary pass ownership by age Base: those eligible for a concessionary pass in England (n=2238) (n=1399) (n=420) 85+ (n=338) Gender There is a clear difference in levels of ownership between men and women (Table 2.2). Concessionary pass holding is 81 per cent amongst women compared with 74 per cent amongst men. Whilst statistically significant, this observed difference may reflect women s greater likelihood to live longer or their lower likelihood of holding a driving license. The multivariate analysis in Section 2.5 provides more detailed analysis of the likely association between these variables and pass ownership. Table 2.2 Concessionary pass ownership by gender Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Men Women All Owns a concessionary pass % No pass % Unweighted bases N Number of adults in household Table 2.3 shows that those who live alone are slightly more likely to own a concessionary pass than those who live with at least one other adult. This may also be related to an individual s age as older people are more likely to live alone, or gender as women are more likely to live longer than men. Table 2.3 Concessionary pass ownership by number of adults in the household Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England One adult Two or more adults Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 8

13 2.3 Socio-economic characteristics Socio-economic group Table 2.4 shows concessionary pass ownership by socio-economic classification, using the respondent s most recent work role as an indicator of socio-economic group. This presents obvious concerns of analytical relevance for a sample of individuals in which the majority will be retired, some for a number of years. Whilst also true for working age adults, a particular concern for this group is that for many, their most recent job may not reflect their lifetime career. Analysis below is included with this caveat in mind. Excluding those who were self-employed or unclassifiable, the first four categories listed in Table 2.4 can be interpreted as hierarchical. Pass ownership increased from 69 per cent of those classified as having never worked or being long-term unemployed to 84 per cent of those classified as holding intermediate occupations 5. Ownership then decreases amongst the highest socio-economic group, to 75 per cent, although clearly it is still higher than those in the never worked and long term employed classification. Table 2.4 Concessionary pass ownership by socio-economic classification Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Socio-economic classification Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations Intermediate occupations Routine and manual occupations Never worked and long-term unemployed Self-employed Unclassified Annual income A similar pattern is observed for current personal annual income (Table 2.5). Levels of concessionary pass ownership are broadly stable for those with an annual income of up to 14,999 (80 to 82 per cent). However, above this income level pass ownership decreases, although the majority (66 per cent) of those with an income of more than 30,000 still owned a concessionary pass. 5 Positions in clerical, sales, service and intermediate technical occupations that do not involve general planning or supervisory powers NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 9

14 Table 2.5 Concessionary pass ownership by income Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England 0-4,999 5,000-7,999 Personal annual income ( ) 8,000-10,000-15,000-9,999 14,999 29,999 30,000+ Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Housing tenure Table 2.6 shows little variation in the proportion of those owning a concessionary pass when analysed by their housing tenure status. The difference between these is not statistically significant. Table 2.6 Concessionary pass ownership by housing tenure Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Owner-occupied Rented Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Area characteristics Rural/Urban area Rural areas have been defined as settlements with a population of fewer than 3,000 people 6. As Table 2.7 shows, respondents in these areas are significantly less likely to own a concessionary pass than those in more urban areas. This finding may be confounded by a number of other factors, for example access to a private vehicle, frequency of bus service and proximity to bus stop. The detail of the relationship between these variables and pass ownership will become clearer using a multivariate analysis (see section 2.6). Table 2.7 Concessionary pass ownership by urban/rural classification Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Urban Rural Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Based on the Department for Transport s reporting of NTS data. See National Travel Survey 2010; Notes and Definitions for more information NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 10

15 2.4.2 Access to bus services As might be expected, access to bus services has a positive effect on pass ownership: As the frequency of bus services from respondents nearest stop increases, so does concessionary pass ownership. Eighty-five per cent of those with a bus every 15 minutes or more at their local bus stop own a pass compared with 63 per cent of those with a service up to once a day (Table 2.8). Table 2.8 Concessionary pass ownership by frequency of bus service Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Every quarter of an hour Frequency of bus service Every half an hour One at hour Up to one a day Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases The NTS also collects data on the time it would take the average person to walk to the respondent s nearest bus stop 7. Those living the shortest distance from a stop a 6 minute walk or less are more likely to own a pass (79 per cent Table 2.9) than those living further away. For respondents whose nearest stop is 14 or more minutes away by foot, pass ownership falls to 58 per cent, markedly less than the average across the population. Table 2.9 Concessionary pass ownership by walking time to local bus stop Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Walking time to nearest bus stop 6 minutes or less 7-13 minutes 14 minutes or more Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Access to private transport Access to a car It might be expected that those who are able to get around by other means for example in a private car are less likely to own a concessionary pass. Table 2.10 shows that household access to a private vehicle is indeed associated with concessionary pass ownership. Among those with access to a vehicle, 75 per cent own a pass compared with 84 per cent without such access (Table 2.10). Whilst there is a difference, it is worth noting that the majority of those with access to a private vehicle own a pass. 7 Respondents were asked to estimate how long it would take the interviewer to walk to the respondent s nearest bus stop. This ensures a consistent measure of walking time regardless of individual walking speed but does mean that the times quoted in Table 2.9 may not be entirely accurate for our population of interest. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 11

16 Table 2.10 Concessionary pass ownership by household access to a private vehicle Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Access No access Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Mobility Table 2.11 shows the proportion of respondents who own a concessionary pass by whether or not the respondent has a disability or health problem that limits their mobility. Individuals may appear in more than one category as they may be affected by more than one disability. Amongst those who report no mobility limiting problems, pass holding was 80 per cent. Those who report mobility difficulties are less likely to own a pass - 66 per cent for those with difficulties with using local buses, 68 per cent for those who have difficulty using a car and 71 per cent for those with difficulty going out on foot. Table 2.11 Concessionary pass ownership by mobility problems Base: those eligible for a concessionary travel pass in England Going out on foot Mobility problems Using local buses Get in or out of a car No difficulty with any of these Owns a concessionary pass (%) Unweighted bases Multivariate analysis The final part of this chapter assesses which factors are independently related to ownership of a concessionary pass. It is likely that many of the factors associated with pass ownership explored above are themselves correlated. For example, those in rural areas, who have lower levels of pass ownership, are more likely to live further away from a bus stop and have a less frequent bus service. In order to account for these relationships, multivariate analysis in the form of logistic regression, was used to model concessionary pass ownership. This allowed us to identify whether ownership is more common among certain groups of people than others, once other variables have been controlled for. Full results from the multivariate analysis are shown in Appendix B, but in summary, after taking all other variables into account the following variables are shown to be significantly associated with pass ownership: NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 12

17 Age - People aged 70-79, or are significantly more likely to own a bus pass than those in their 60s. People of 85 or over show no significant difference to those in their 60s in pass ownership. Gender - compared with men, women are more likely to own a pass. Socio-economic group - People classified as having never worked or long term unemployed as their most recent occupation were less likely to own a bus pass than those who worked in higher managerial or professional occupations. Personal annual income is significant only at the 90 per cent level (p <0.1); with those with an income of 30,000 or more being less likely to own a bus pass. Those who live in owner-occupied housing are less likely than those in rented accommodation to own a pass. The frequency of the bus service at the respondent s nearest bus stop - an individual with a bus every quarter of an hour at their nearest stop is more likely to own a pass compared with someone with a daily or less frequent service. (The association between walking distance to the nearest bus stop and pass ownership is not shown to be statistically significant.) Those without access to a private vehicle are more likely to own a pass than those without access Those with difficulties going out on foot or using local buses both have an odds ratio of less than half of those who do not report these problems. (However there is no association between difficulties with getting in or out of a car and pass ownership.) We have seen then that personal characteristics, for example one s age, sex and mobility, can affect one s likelihood to own a concessionary pass. However some characteristics which appeared to be related to bus pass ownership in the earlier twoway tables were not significant in the multivariate analysis. For example: The number of people in the household is not shown to have a significant effect on pass ownership, controlling for other variables, suggesting that the difference shown in Table 2.3 is actually a function of something else. The urban/rural split is shown not to be statistically significant in this multivariate analysis. As noted above, the regression analysis shows that access to transport can have an important effect on pass ownership and this may explain the seeming association with the urban/rural split noted in Table 2.7. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 13

18 Percent 3 Frequency of concessionary pass use Chapter 2 examined levels of pass ownership among all those eligible for a concessionary pass. Analysis in this chapter focuses only on pass-holders and assesses how often they used their pass and the factors related to frequency of pass use. Figure 3.1 shows overall frequency of use for all individuals who own a concessionary travel pass. 13 per cent of concessionary pass holders use their pass daily, while 39 per cent use it weekly in total more than half (52 per cent) of those with a pass use it at least once a week. A further 30 per cent use it at least once a year (15 per cent monthly, 15 per cent annually). A minority (19 per cent) use their pass less than annually or never. 52% of pass holders use their pass at least once a week Figure 3.1 Frequency of concessionary pass use Base: concessionary pass owners in England At least daily Less than daily, up to weekly Less than weekly, up to monthly Less than monthly, up to annually Less than annually Unweighted base: Personal characteristics Age Figure 2.2 shows that overall pass ownership increases with age up until around 85 years and then falls. Figure 3.2 shows that the proportion of pass-holders making frequent use of the bus pass actually decreases, albeit gradually, with age. Infrequent use, or never using the pass at all, increases with age. However across all age groups, even those aged over 85, over 1 in 10 pass holders report daily use of their pass. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 14

19 Percent Figure 3.2 Frequency of concessionary pass use by age Base: concessionary pass owners Daily Less than daily, up to weekly Less than weekly, up to monthly Less than monthly, up to annually Less than annually (n=1648) (n=1145) (n=356) 85+ (n=249) Gender In addition to being more likely to own a pass (as was shown in Table 2.2), among those who owned a pass, women are also more frequent users of their pass than men (Table 3.1). Fifty-six per cent of female pass owners had used their pass at least once a week compared with 47 per cent of men. Table 3.1 Frequency of pass use by sex Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England At least Less than daily daily but up to weekly Frequency of concessionary pass use Less than weekly, up to monthly Less than monthly, up to annually Less than annually Bases Sex % % % % % Male Female Number of adults in household Those who live alone are slightly more likely to own a pass than those who live with other adults (Table 2.3). Similarly, amongst pass owners those living alone are still more likely than those who live with others to use their pass frequently the proportion of single-adult household pass owners who use their pass at least once a week is 12 percentage points higher than for pass owners who live with other adults. This may reflect the fact that women live on average longer than men, are therefore more likely to live alone in their older age, and use their concessionary pass more frequently. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 15

20 Table 3.2 Frequency of pass use by number of adults in the household Base: those who own a concessionary pass Frequency of concessionary pass use At least Less than Less than Less than Less than daily daily but up to weekly, up to monthly, up to annually weekly monthly annually Bases Number of adults % % % % % One Two or more Socio-economic characteristics Socio-economic group Table 2.4 showed pass ownership was highest for those whose most recent job was in routine/manual and intermediate occupations (80 per cent and 84 per cent respectively) and lower both for those who had never worked/long term unemployed (69 per cent) and those in higher occupations (75 per cent). However amongst those who owned a pass, frequency of use is broadly constant across socio-economic groups (Table 3.3). Table 3.3 Frequency of pass use by socio-economic classification Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Frequency of concessionary pass use Less than Less than Less than daily but weekly, monthly, up to up to up to weekly monthly annually At least daily Less than annually Socio-economic Bases classification % % % % % Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations Intermediate occupations Routine and manual occupations Never worked and longterm unemployed Self-employed Unclassified Those who were classified as self-employed were both least likely to own a pass (68 per cent Table 2.4) and, if they did own a pass, less likely to use it more frequently (Table 3.3). This may be because self-employed people were more likely to have continued working later in life and/or to have access to a car. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 16

21 Per cent using their pass at least once a week Annual Income Pass ownership was highest amongst the lower income groups (Table 2.5). However, amongst those who had a pass, personal annual income has a less profound effect on frequency of use (Table 3.4). There is some evidence to suggest that, for the middle income bands ( 5,000 29,999), frequent pass use (i.e. at least weekly) decreases with increasing income. This can be seen in Figure 3.3. Figure 3.3 Frequency of concessionary pass use by annual income ( ) Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England ,999 5,000-7,999 8,000-9,999 10,000-14,999 15,000-29,999 30,000+ Table 3.4 Frequency of pass use by income Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Frequency of concessionary pass use At least Less than Less than Less than Less than daily daily but up to weekly, up to monthly, up to annually weekly monthly annually Bases Income ( ) % % % % % 0-4, ,000-7, ,000-9, ,000-14, ,000-29, , Appendix C contains analysis of a single variable that combines both ownership and frequency of pass use and how this varies by income and socio-economic classification Housing tenure In terms of pass ownership, no significant differences were found when looking at housing tenure (Table 2.6). However, this is not the case when looking at frequency of pass use. Table 3.5 shows that those living in rented accommodation are much more likely to use their pass everyday compared with owner-occupiers. Two-thirds of renters who owned a pass used it at least once a week, compared with just less than half of pass owners who were owner-occupiers. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 17

22 Table 3.5 Frequency of pass use by housing tenure Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Frequency of concessionary pass use At least Less than Less than Less than Less than daily daily but up to weekly, up to monthly, up to annually weekly monthly annually Bases Housing tenure status % % % % % Owner-occupied Renting Area characteristics Rural/Urban area We have already seen that those living in rural areas are significantly less likely to own a concessionary pass than those living in urban areas (Table 2.7). Table 3.6 shows that pass-holders living in rural areas use their pass much less often than those in urban areas. Fifty-five per cent of urban pass owners use their pass at least once a week compared with only 28 per cent of pass owners living in rural areas. A quarter of those pass owners living in rural areas use their pass less than annually. Table 3.6 Frequency of pass use by urban/rural Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Frequency of concessionary pass use At least Less than Less than Less than Less than daily daily but up to weekly, up to monthly, up to annually weekly monthly annually Bases Area classification % % % % % Urban Rural Local bus provision As we might expect, ownership and frequency of concessionary pass use is significantly correlated with the frequency of local bus service. As bus frequency increases so does frequency of concessionary pass use (Table 3.7). For example, among pass owners with a bus service from their local stop at least once every quarter of an hour, 20 per cent use their pass daily. This compares with just two per cent among pass owners with a daily or less frequent service. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 18

23 Table 3.7 Frequency of pass use by frequency of bus service Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Frequency of concessionary pass use At least Less than Less than Less than Less than daily daily but up to weekly, up to monthly, up to annually weekly monthly annually Bases Bus frequency % % % % % Every quarter of an hour Every half an hour One an hour Up to one a day Walking time to respondents nearest bus stop also has a clear impact on the frequency with which the concessionary pass is used. As walking time to the bus stop increases, use of the pass decreases (Table 3.8). This is consistent with Table 2.9 which showed that walking time to nearest stop is related to concessionary pass ownership, with ownership increasing along with proximity to bus stop. Table 3.8 Frequency of pass use by walking time to bus stop Base: those who own a concessionary pass Frequency of concessionary pass use Less than Less than Less than daily but weekly, monthly, up to up to up to weekly monthly annually At least daily Less than annually Walking time to nearest Bases stop % % % % % 6 minutes or less minutes minutes Access to private transport Access to a car As was shown in the previous chapter, pass ownership is lower amongst those with access to a car (Table 2.10). It was noted, however, that a sizable majority of those who did have access to a private vehicle nonetheless also owned a pass. Table 3.9 shows that, as might be expected, frequency of pass use is higher amongst pass-holders without access to a private vehicle. Seventy-three per cent of pass owners without a car use their pass at least once a week. For those with access to a private vehicle, this figure drops to 44 per cent. However, a majority of pass owners with access to a car (62 per cent) use their pass at least once a month. Whilst pass use is clearly lower for those with access to a private vehicle, frequency of pass use is still relatively high. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 19

24 Table 3.9 Frequency of pass use by access to private vehicle Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Whether household has access to a private vehicle Frequency of concessionary pass use Less than Less than Less than daily but weekly, monthly, up to up to up to weekly monthly annually At least daily Less than annually Bases % % % % % Yes No Mobility Those who experience mobility difficulties are significantly less likely to own a pass (Table 2.5). Amongst those who did hold a pass, they were also much less likely to use their pass on a daily or weekly basis. Fifty-five per cent of pass owners with no mobility problems used their pass at least weekly. This compares with 33 per cent of pass owners who have difficulty using local buses and 41 per cent of pass owners who have difficulties going out on foot or with getting in or out of a car (Table 3.10). Table 3.10 Frequency of pass use by mobility difficulties Base: those who own a concessionary pass in England Frequency of concessionary pass use At least Less than Less than Less than Less than daily daily but up to weekly, up to monthly, up to annually weekly monthly annually Bases Mobility problems % % % % % Going out on foot Using local buses Get in or out of a car No difficulty with any of these Multivariate analysis As in the previous chapter, to control for other variables, we placed them into a logistic regression model using the base of pass owners. To simplify the analysis, frequency of use was recoded from the five codes used above into two: at least once a week and less than once a week. Women are more likely to use their pass at least once a week than men, controlling for other variables in the model. The likelihood of pass owners aged 85+ using the pass once a week is considerably less than those aged NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 20

25 The following factors were shown not to be significantly associated with frequency of pass use, after controlling for other variables in the model: socio-economic group personal annual income living in a rural or urban area number of adults in a household respondents tenure status However, while there are no observed differences between urban and rural areas, it is clear that the availability of the bus service in the area has a significant impact on frequency of bus pass use (over and above the relationship already found with pass ownership). The analysis confirms that the more frequent the bus service from the local stop, the more likely people are to use their pass weekly, after controlling for other variables. Similarly, proximity to a bus stop was shown to be independently related to pass use with those further away from a bus stop less likely to use their passes weekly. This suggests the pattern observed in Table 3.6 may actually result from the proximity to bus stops and the frequency of services from those stops, rather than whether or not the area is urban or rural. Access to a private vehicle is also independently related to pass use. Pass holders who don t have any access to a private vehicle are considerably more likely to use their bus pass frequently than those who do have access to a private vehicle. Respondents who reported certain specific mobility difficulties, i.e. difficulties when going out on foot or problems with using local buses, were significantly less likely to make frequent use of their bus pass. There was no significant effect amongst those who reported problems with getting in or out of a car or who reported none of these problems. Full results from the multivariate analyses are shown in Appendix B. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 21

26 4 Bus travel by older people This chapter considers travel behaviour by older people using personal travel data collected using the travel diary element of the NTS. The NTS travel diary records all travel behaviour over a week. Such detailed information allows journeys to be divided into stages. A single journey from home to work, for example, may have two stages if the respondent has to get a bus to the train station (stage 1) and then a train to their work (stage 2). By splitting journeys into stages, NTS allows consideration of the total number of trips made using a particular mode of transport. 4.1 Use of the bus by older people Table 4.1 shows that the proportion of total trips made by bus increases as age increases: 16 per cent of total trips made by those aged 85+ were by bus, compared with eight per cent of total trips made by those aged This indicates that bus use, as opposed to other forms of transport, becomes an increasingly important part of travel as people get older. Table 4.1 Bus travel as a proportion of overall modal share by age Base: all those aged over 18 Age Proportion of total trip stages made by bus (%) Unweighted bases There are very few older people using buses without a concessionary pass - of all bus trip stages made by those eligible for a pass during the fieldwork period, 98 per cent were made by concessionary pass owners. Conversely, those who are eligible for, but do not own a pass are very unlikely to use a bus - just one per cent of all trip stages reported by those who did not have a pass were made by bus. It might appear that all those who would want to use buses now have a bus pass. However, in previous chapters we see the significant impact of the availability of bus services (frequency of buses and proximity of bus stops) in an area. Whilst it is not possible to say whether this is a causal relationship, we may speculate that improved services could lead to increased uptake of the concession and more frequent use of buses. 4.2 Bus trips by those eligible for a concessionary pass In this section we briefly explore the purpose of bus journeys (or stages within journeys made using a bus) made first by those who are eligible for a concessionary bus pass in order that they can be compared with journeys made by those using a concessionary bus pass. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 22

27 Tables 4.2 and 4.3 use bus stages made by those eligible for a concessionary pass, regardless of whether or not they own one. Around half of all journeys made by bus were travelling home. After this the most popular purpose was shopping (26 per cent), followed by leisure (19 per cent). Four per cent of all bus journeys made by older people were for work and three per cent to attend medical appointments. There is considerable consistency in the proportions between the sexes, the main differences being that women are more likely than men to use their pass for shopping (28 per cent compared with 23 per cent), whilst the opposite is true for journeys to work or education (seven per cent for men, three per cent for women). Table 4.2 Journey purpose by gender Base: bus stages made by those eligible for a pass by respondents in England Journey purpose Home Work/education Shopping Medical Leisure Escort Bases Gender % % % % % % Male Female Totals As with gender, the purpose of bus journeys were broadly consistent across the age bands (Table 4.3). However, the youngest age group were much more likely to be using the bus to travel to work or education than their older counterparts: Eight per cent of bus journeys made by those aged were to work/education, compared with between one per cent or less for older groups. The proportion of bus journeys made for leisure purposes also broadly decreased as age increases. Of bus trip stages made, those made by older age groups were more likely to be for shopping: 33 per cent of bus trips made by those aged 85+ were for shopping compared with 23 per cent of trips by those aged Table 4.3 Journey purpose by age Base: stages made by those eligible for a pass by respondents in England Journey purpose Home Work/education Shopping Medical Leisure Escort Bases Age % % % % % % Bus journeys made by concessionary pass owners Tables 4.4 and 4.5 show the purpose of bus journey stages made using a concessionary pass. The figures display very small variations compared with the average across the population (shown in Tables 4.2 and 4.3). NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 23

28 Table 4.4 Journey purpose by sex Base: journeys made using a concessionary pass by respondents in England Journey purpose Home Work/education Shopping Medical Leisure Escort Bases Gender % % % % % % Male Female Totals Table 4.5 Journey purpose by age Base: journeys made using a concessionary bus pass by respondents in England Journey purpose Home Work/education Shopping Medical Leisure Escort Bases Age % % % % % % NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 24

29 5 Omnibus questions In the preceding chapters we explored, using NTS data, the factors associated with pass ownership and use. In this section we describe the results of a short module of questions that were placed on a nationally representative omnibus survey. The module comprised four questions: Do you currently have a concessionary bus pass, regardless of whether or not you use the pass? Which, if any of these reasons, describe why you don t have this type of bus pass? Could you look at this card and tell me how often, typically, you use your pass on bus journeys? Which, if any of these reasons, describe why you don t use your pass on bus journeys more often? Questions were asked of respondents in England aged 61 and over 8. These questions were asked in order to learn more about why those eligible did not own a pass and why pass owners did not use theirs more frequently. So what reasons do people give for not owning a pass? Or not using it more often? Note: The first question relating to pass ownership was used to route respondents to the question about reasons for non-ownership. The omnibus questions were not posed in order to support or otherwise the analysis of NTS data on pass ownership. To avoid repetition or confusion no further analysis of Omnibus data on pass ownership is presented here, other than to note that it is reassuring to see some consistency in the patterns observed among different sub-groups. 5.1 Reasons for not owning a concessionary pass After establishing whether or not the respondent owned a concessionary pass, the next question asked those who did not have a pass why this was. Respondents were given a list of possible responses from which they could select all that they felt applied (a full list of possible codes can be found in Appendix A). Responses are summarised in Table 5.1. By far the most common reason given was that the respondent was able to drive, or had someone to drive them; 69 per cent of people responded in this way. In Chapter 2 we showed that access to a private vehicle was associated with a lower tendency to hold a concessionary pass; this confirms this finding. 8 A proportion of those omnibus respondents aged 60 would have been eligible for a concessionary pass. However, due to the omnibus survey collecting age rather than date of birth, it was not possible to identify which of them were beyond women s state pension age (and hence eligible for a pass). The age threshold was therefore set at 61 to ensure that all respondents asked the question were eligible for a pass. NatCen Social Research Older people s use of concessionary bus travel 25

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