A judicial review has been launched into the legality of cuts to travel passes for the elderly and disabled in South Yorkshire.
Sheffield Citizens Advice and Law Centre has started the proceedings on behalf of two disabled clients, who rely on public transport.
The clients – Michelle Turner, who uses a wheelchair, and Alan Lindley, who is partially-sighted – are challenging the decision to reduce concessionary travel on buses and trains because they believe it is unlawful.
Douglas Johnson of the Sheffield Citizens’ Advice and Law Centre, said: “Our view is that the councillors’ decision to cut concessionary travel was unlawful because they failed to comply with the Equality Act 2010.
“They have a legal duty to have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment and to advance equality of opportunity.”
There are more than 265,000 concessionary pass holders in South Yorkshire and about 10 per cent of them are disabled.
Steve Hambleton, general manager of the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, said the cut has an impact on all disabled people in Sheffield, including those who are blind and partially-sighted.
He said: “For blind and partially-sighted people, it’s not the fact they have to pay for a ticket, it’s the fact it takes them longer to handle cash. They have to count it out in the first place and if they give the driver a note they have to count their change.
“Then they have to find the little window in the perspex to give the money, then find the ticket machine to take the ticket off.
“It all adds to the delay and it takes away their dignity.”
A claim against Sheffield City Region Combined Authority has been issued in the High Court.
If a judge rules the decision is unlawful, it will be quashed.
David Young of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said: “We will, of course, be considering our response to the application to the court over the next couple of weeks, mindful that it will ultimately be local taxpayers’ money that would be spent on defending any action.
“We are hopeful that we can work with Sheffield Citizens Advice to address their clients’ concerns and prevent the cost of legal action falling to the public purse.”