Fight to reverse change

A Stagecoach bus at one of the bus stops on Ecclesfield Road, Sheffield
A Stagecoach bus at one of the bus stops on Ecclesfield Road, Sheffield
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A protest group has pledged to ‘fight non-stop’ to reverse changes to free bus and train travel passes in Sheffield.

Residents spoke of the impact that changes to concessions for elderly and disabled people will have when introduced next Monday, March 31.

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive will limit to between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays the times free bus pass users can travel without paying.

It will also withdraw concessionary rail travel across the region, and by the end of April will end the city centre Freebee bus.

But Nether Edge pensioner Charles Gardener, aged 69, said: “There are people who go to the theatre or the Crucible for the snooker who we are telling to go home at 10.30pm. It’s totally wrong.”

Sheffield Uncut will launch a protest at Meadowhall Interchange on Monday from 11am.

Co-founder Jen Dunstan said: “What SYPTE has done is effectively revoke the free pass from Monday to Friday.

“There are many things people might need to do before 9.30am – school, work, college, nursery, hospital appointments.

“Some people need multiple buses and trams to get across the city because of the inefficient nature of our transport network.

“At £1.80 a ticket, three tickets will cost £5.40. A day pass for the city is £4.30.

“We are going to fight this and not going to stop until we get our rights reinstated.”

David Young, SYPTE deputy interim director general, said: “It gives SYPTE or elected members no satisfaction to make these changes to concessionary fares for elderly and disabled people, and we understand people’s frustration.

“However the fact is budgets are being cut back by government and locally we do not have enough money to fund the concessions at a level much beyond the national scheme – as we did previously.

“The concessionary scheme is still there for bus and tram and we have largely protected the bus network and frozen child fares.”