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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

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


Climate change

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 elections

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


Opinion

Low pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out

'Traitors': Cold War cloak and daggers as capitalist powers spy on allies


 

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Related links:

South Yorkshire:

triangleMajor funding for flood risk management needed

triangleSouth Yorkshire defeats fire cuts

triangleSouth Yorkshire FBU celebrates halt to cuts

triangleOrgreave injustice - 35th anniversary march and rally

triangleSouth Yorkshire: No to fire service cuts!

Yorkshire:

triangleLeeds pensioners occupy BBC to save free TV licenses

triangleNHS marches in Yorkshire and London

triangleNon-fiction: 'Unhealthy Profits: PFI in the NHS'

triangleSheffield tree campaigners' legal win

Travel:

triangleScandinavian Airlines walkout disrupts Nordic air travel

triangleStop Nottingham Labour's cuts to disabled travel!

triangleSupport RMT strikes against the elimination of guards on trains

Sheffield:

triangleSheffield Socialist Party: Tories out! Corbyn in with socialist policies

triangleWell-supported strike against cuts at Bradfield school

Pensioners:

triangleStop the latest Tory attack on our pensions

Disabled:

triangleStep forward for campaign to reverse mobility pass cuts in Nottingham

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