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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 May 2014

Freedom Riders- action brings victory

Sharron Milsom

South Yorkshire's Freedom Riders have won a victory in our campaign to get back our travel concessions. For the last six weeks groups of elderly and disabled protesters from Barnsley, Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham - always over 100 in total - have held a weekly Freedom Ride.

We have been travelling on local trains without buying tickets, and each time meeting up for a rally. The campaign has gained national support from rail unions Aslef and RMT and the Bakers and Allied Food Workers' Union (BAFWU).

On 7 May a delegation of campaigners met with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive after being invited - but the SYPTE had no proposals to put forward. Yet the next morning it was announced on the radio that disabled people's concessions are to be completely restored. The proposals say we will again be entitled, as before 31 March, to free rail travel in South and West Yorkshire and to free travel on buses and trams at any time.

But the proposal for elderly people is only a partial victory. Holders of Senior Citizen passes would be entitled to travel for half fare on trains, on weekdays limited to between 9.30am and 11pm, with free travel on buses and trams still being limited to these times.

In announcing the proposals, the leader of Barnsley's Labour council has said that they were 'not a result of people who have been breaking the law' by going on freedom rides. Neither apparently are the proposals anything to do with the judicial review filed on behalf of two disabled people as, according to the SYPTE, it's all been a question of listening to customer feedback.

The idea that these concessions would have been put forward without the fightback by elderly and disabled people is laughable. Certainly everyone I've told about this so far has laughed!

The transport committee of the new Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will need to agree the proposals on 19 May. Protesters will still be holding a demo in Barnsley on Saturday 17 May at which there will be a vote on whether to consider the campaign a victory or whether there should be further freedom rides.

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In The Socialist 14 May 2014:

Vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

For the millions not the billionaires

Fight back at the ballot box on 22 May

Building Labour: when workers first formed own party

Southampton: Showing what's possible

Liverpool City Council 1983-87: "We had a choice"

Why we're standing as TUSC candidates

On the campaign trail with TUSC

Socialist Party news and analysis

Ukip - the establishment's 'anti-establishment' party

Housing evictions - main parties to blame

Gove robs education budget to fund 'Free Schools'

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

What's socialism got to do with fighting austerity?

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: The ANC victory, WASP and the EFF

Capitalist politicians can't solve Boko Haram crisis

Ireland: Election campaigns "referendum on austerity"

Socialist Party workplace news

Care UK strike: NHS workers v NHS privatisation

PCS: Re-election of a fighting, socialist leadership

Leadership challenged at Usdaw conference

Brighton: Determined to fight college cuts

Transport workers' international meeting

Workplace news in brief

Fight together for pay rise - Come to NSSN conference

Readers' reviews

TV review: In the Flesh

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight back to scrap junk jobs

Freedom Riders- action brings victory

Building TUSC, building socialism

Donate to the election appeal!

Why I joined the Socialist Party


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