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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 April 2019
South Yorkshire Freedom Riders - still battling on
The freedom riders' five-year rally, 1.4.19, photo by South Yorkshire Freedom Riders (Click to enlarge)
Sharron Milsom, Sheffield Central Socialist Party
South Yorkshire Freedom Riders held rallies on 1 April marking five years of our struggle for the full restoration of travel pass rights.
Pensioners and disabled people started with a rally at Barnsley Interchange before setting off on a 50-minute bus ride to Sheffield.
Over 70 rallied at Sheffield station including local trade unionists and members of the public, both old and young.
In 2014, our free local train travel in South and West Yorkshire was removed entirely and our rights to free bus travel restricted.
After holding several 'freedom rides' - catching trains en masse and refusing to pay - South Yorkshire's councils backed down.
Disabled pass holders won all rights back but pensioners only gained partial concessions.
Pensioners can catch a train for half-fare within South Yorkshire but a train to West Yorkshire is charged full-fare.
So, Sheffield to Leeds return, once free, is now £12. We have continued the fight to have all rights restored.
The concessionary fares budget has been hugely underspent every year since 2014 - meaning that the lost concessions could have been paid for several times over!
Yet with the Labour councils continuing to carry out Tory cuts, this unspent money has gone to shore up reserves.
London, Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands all have free local train travel for the elderly. This should be extended across the country.
We're also fighting for a bus network that meets people's needs. Cuts in the network have left some Barnsley villages with no service at all.
The Sheffield bus network was cut by 10% in 2015, with further cuts to many routes since. Buses that ran once every ten minutes are now hourly.
Workers often can't get a bus to work. People with mobility difficulties are having to pay for taxis to get to the doctors and local shops. Travel pass rights are no use if there is no bus!
We need a big expansion of public transport, with more routes and higher frequency, together with low fares. And for public transport, including trains, to be taken into public ownership, under democratic workers' control and management.
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In The Socialist 10 April 2019:
What we think
Corbyn must demand general election, defend workers' interests and fight for a socialist Brexit
Organise against climate change, austerity and capitalism
Only socialism can stop capitalism's plastic problem
International socialist news and analysis
Algeria: Bouteflika is finished but the Algerian revolution is not!
China: police state in Xinjiang under global spotlight
Local government in crisis: councillors can fight cuts!
Socialist Party news and analysis
Boot out the Tories - end austerity
Stop Tory NHS destruction
Gender pay gap widening
Them & us
Workplace news and analysis
PCS: vote Yes for action, back socialists in the elections!
NEU conference: organise for the key battles to come
Swindon workers discuss action to save Honda jobs
Southampton Hospital security workers strike
Support the Glasgow Airport pay and pensions strike
London Overground cleaners strike for better pay
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Leicester Socialist Party letter for no-cuts budget
Walthamstow: end the school funding crisis
Reject the rotten NUS 'reforms'
Leicester NHS Trust and the brutal reality of cuts
Social cleansing continues in Southwark
Newcastle anti-fascist demo
South Yorkshire Freedom Riders - still battling on
Gateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!
Health Campaigns Together AGM success
Low pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out
'Traitors': Cold War cloak and daggers as capitalist powers spy on allies
The Socialist 10 April 2019 |
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