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Author Topic: Bus v car. Claiming travel costs.  (Read 1742 times)
bignosemac
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« on: August 10, 2017, 06:06:36 pm »

I have an upcoming appointment in Taunton with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The appointment letter says to contact the DWP if you need help with travel expenses. Whilst it won't be a great hardship to cover the travel cost myself, I thought I'd enquire to see what would be paid if I claimed.

The DWP policy emailed to me says that they encourage use of public transport and will refund the cost of a return rail or bus journey. If public transport is problematical then mileage can be paid to those who drive, at 25p per mile. The policy also states that payments are discretionary and consideration of the local budget and value for money are taken into account.

The bus fare for my return journey, Chard <-> Taunton is 7.80.

If I drive and claim mileage it'll be a 26 mile round trip. At 25p a mile that'll be 6.50.

So which part of the DWP policy do I adhere to?
Their stated aim to encourage public transport use, or their aim to achieve value for money?


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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 06:30:41 pm »

So which part of the DWP policy do I adhere to?
Their stated aim to encourage public transport use, or their aim to achieve value for money?

You are required to take public transport if you can. Only "If public transport is problematical then mileage can be paid".
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bignosemac
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 06:58:32 pm »

No 'require' in the policy. Just 'encouraged'.

Surely the cost to public purse should be the primary concern.

It does also raise the issue of bus fares not being competitive enough to get people out of their cars.
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John R
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 08:59:32 pm »

No 'require' in the policy. Just 'encouraged'.

Surely the cost to public purse should be the primary concern.

It does also raise the issue of bus fares not being competitive enough to get people out of their cars.

Once someone has a car, the marginal cost of running it is likely to be cheaper than the cost of public transport. If you add the fixed annual overheads (tax, insurance, MOT) and other costs (depreciation, servicing, etc), I suspect the cost differential per mile would look different.  Also, car parking is often a considerable cost these days, though maybe not in Taunton.

The reality is that once you have a car, the convenience and comfort over an infrequent bus which may or may not take you exactly where you want to go is often compelling.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 09:17:26 pm »

All annual costs for my vehicle, with an estimated annual mileage based on the miles I've driven since buying, gives me an all in pence per mile cost of 24.5p.

That just leaves the cost of parking. In Taunton that is free for me on my Sister's drive. 5 minute walk to the town centre.

I'd like to take public transport but it makes no financial sense in this instance. If I do claim travel costs it's better surely to keep the cost to the public purse down. If I don't claim I will be doing what's best for my wallet!

For comparison, a similar length return bus journey in First Bus' Bristol and Bath area would cost 6. Beating my car's all in costs. Sadly First Buses of Somerset have priced themselves out of the market for my necessary journey.
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 04:13:23 pm »

In a sensible world (I have no idea is the DWP is sensible) the DWP would pay you 6.50 if you were able to show that the bus fare was more than or equal to 7.20.  But many bus companies seem to treat their fares as state secrets and do not publicise them (on their website etc) showing that the fare is 7.20 without actually buying a ticket might be difficult.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 06:44:50 pm »

Tim, they normally reveal fares if you tweet them.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 09:27:16 pm »

I found the cost of Chard - Taunton return by phoning Buses of Somerset Customer Services. In Norwich I believe.

Also, the BoS website says contact via twitter can be had @firstkernow. First Kernow website says they can be tweeted @busesofsomerset.  Roll Eyes

Not just the train division that has woeful customer service.
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