MCL’s Project Experience

Concessionary Travel, Social Research, Transport & Local Planning, Youth Travel Revenue allocation / apportionment, Smart Cards, Bus Network Reviews, Fares and Ticketing, Transport Advice



Concessionary Travel

MCL have extensive experience in the field of concessionary travel ranging from conventional consultancy studies and research projects to the ongoing involvement with a number of major schemes as administrators and/or technical advisers. The following summarises past and current work undertaken by MCL in this field.


Assisting with the transition of responsibility for Concessions to upper tier Authorities and the implementation of revised DfT reimbursement Guidance

Various County and Unitary Councils
On the introduction of the latest method of reimbursing bus operators with responsibility being transferred to County and Unitary Authorities in 2011, MCL provided advice on the development of schemes, cost estimates, discretionary options, etc. Negotiations with Bus Operators and the implementation and Project Management of Changes were an integral part of this.


Overall Administration of Concessionary Travel Schemes

Various Authorities (ongoing)
MCL continues to administer ENCTS Schemes for around one third of Shire England, using the current DfT Guidance and Calculator in most cases, but also advising on and assisting with negotiation of Fixed Pot Schemes and individual fixed payments to operators in a number of cases. MCL also advises on the practicalities and likely cost of changing local discretions such as time of travel, discretionary services.


Assessment of Additional Capacity Cost (PVR) Claims

Various Authorities (ongoing)
Development of claim assessment methods and the evaluation of various claims made by bus operators for additional capacity (Additional Peak Vehicle Requirement) costs. Including consultation with operators and negotiation of settlements on behalf of authorities.


Technical Support to National Judicial Review case over Reimbursement Issues

Various Authorities (2009)
Responsible for technical input and briefing of the legal team representing TCAs in the Judicial Review case brought by Stagecoach and Go-Ahead against the Secretary of State for Transport over the principles of reimbursement.  A successful outcome was secured by the DfT and the TCAs as a result of this case.


Management of Appeals against Concessionary Travel Reimbursement Arrangements, Calculator challenges and other disputes

Various Authorities (2006 to date)
Assessment of appeals, challenges to scheme arrangements and other disputes cases. Preparation of technical arguments, support in negotiation/mediation processes, and where necessary the briefing of legal partners, administration of the appeal process on behalf of the TCAs, review of determination and any follow up.

Social Research

MCL has worked with a range of clients to undertake social research projects – both quantitative and qualitative – since the company was first established. We are also able to provide data processing and analysis in relation to research undertaken by other agencies or by client personnel, where internal resources are not available, or where an external perspective on analysis and judgement is useful.

Projects range from those directly related to our core work dealing with local transport issues and concessionary fares schemes, to more recently assisting local authorities to handle public consultation exercises in areas as diverse as strategies for provision of Library services and Waste Management facilities.

Pressure on local Councils’ funding in particular has increased the need for this form of strategic review. With local research teams in a number of areas, and contacts with additional Market Research specialists in several of these, clients have found our ability to undertake research projects, and to present analysis of research in a straightforward clear manner, to be useful.

Transport And Local PLanning

Sussex Housing and Care, Santon Group (2013)

MCL has begun working again with local property agents and developers in advising on the transport implications of local residential and other development.  An assessment on behalf of Sussex Housing and Care related to a proposed residential redevelopment in the conservation area of Lewes in East Sussex, aiming to ensure that design features improved on existing standards of access and visibility, and evaluating the likely impact of proposals on levels of traffic in the immediate surrounding area.

MCL provided support to a wider proposal to develop the North Street Quarter in Lewes, focusing on improved pedestrian and public transport access from this area to the Town Centre and onward connections.

Travel For Young People

Building initially on MCL’s research capabilities, the company has developed a strong capability in travel planning and the assessment of travel concession schemes for young people. Recent Project experience includes:

Kent County Council (ongoing)

Scoping study to evaluate the costs and options for providing free travel for young people. Implementation of initial pilot scheme, ongoing involvement in management and development thereof, leading to a commitment to a Countywide scheme encompassing school age children, looked-after children and recent care-leavers. Despite the challenging financial climate, these arrangements continue with MCL’s support, with separate provisions for 11-16 and 16-19 age ranges.


Medway Council (ongoing)

Assisting with design, development and implementation of a morning peak period half fare scheme for year 7 – 11 students throughout Medway. Administration of the scheme once implemented.


Hertfordshire County Council (ongoing)

Reviewing the half-fare SaverCard scheme for 11-19 year olds throughout Hertfordshire, including data collection, development of reimbursement arrangements and ongoing administration once implemented. Assisting with the transition to smartcards and ongoing data analysis and scheme administration has followed.


Revenue Allocation / Apportionment

Suffolk Taxi Voucher Scheme (ongoing)

MCL advised on the set-up, and continues to administer, the Suffolk Taxi Voucher Scheme.  This provides qualifying Suffolk residents who are too disabled to travel by bus, or live too far from a bus service, with free taxi vouchers.


Strathclyde Passenger Transport ZoneCard (ongoing)

MCL advises on and calculates reimbursement to transport operators participating in this multi-modal scheme.


Suffolk Endeavour (ongoing)

Working closely with Euclid and Unicard, MCL undertakes the revenue apportionment of this multi-operator smart ticketing scheme to participating bus operators who accept the e-purse.


Kent Connected (ongoing)

Working closely with Euclid and Unicard, MCL undertakes the revenue apportionment of this multi-operator smart ticketing scheme to participating bus operators who accept the e-purse and other products.


MCL maintains a strong interest in the deployment of smart ticketing and pass technology linked to systems development in connection with its management services activities.  This is a fast-moving area of activity, which we monitor and contribute to through membership of and work with organisations such as Smartex (Transport Card Forum) and by working closely with our technology partner Euclid.


Bus Network Reviews

MCL’s experienced team specialise in reviewing bus networks, urban or rural. If ticket machine data is available, we will produce clear charts to support our findings on each route. We can analyse commercial networks or tendered portfolios for both operators and local authorities. We can analyse the available data, research new opportunities and formulate proposals which are presented in a clear and concise way. We can also assist with implementation, if required and also set up simple route costing and revenue trend spreadsheets to monitor the successful network after introduction.

We have recently undertaken a full review for a local authority owned bus operation from data gathering through to post-implementation review.

Fares And Ticketing

MCL have experience of ETM programming (on the Ticketer system) and extensive knowledge of the use of ETM data from most systems, old and new.

We can advise on fare scales including the simplification of current systems and costed options for the future.

We recently worked with a local authority to introduce a multi-operator area ticket scheme from data gathering, bench marking and negotiation and consultation with a range of operators, large and small.

MCL has worked with several bus operators to implement route costing systems and can produce and audit BSOG claims.

MCL are extremely proficient at analysing ETM data and presenting clear reports and solutions.


Transport Advice

MCL’s diverse range of transport experience allows us to give sound, well-researched and knowledgeable advice on a range of topics.

We specialise in concessionary fares and can give valuable insight to new or existing schemes at a strategic or detailed level, covering schemes for the elderly and disabled or for young people. We can benchmark existing schemes on a one-off basis against the 13 areas where we administer arrangements and advise on how they meet DfT guidelines.


We can also offer wider transport advice to authorities and to operators. Recently, examples have been:

  • we have provided support for a local authority on the features and provisions of the 2017 Bus Services Act.
  • We also supported an authority in 2020 in producing three expressions of interest for DfT’s Rural Mobility Fund for rural DRT schemes.
  • MCL also used their in-depth experience of quality bus services to assist with the production of the specification and procurement of a bus rapid transit operator and contributed to the development of the scheme and its infrastructure.
  • When a significant bus company intended to withdraw from local bus services, we produced a report into the viability of the network, recommended options for replacement services and helped with implementation of a new network.