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South Yorks transport cut protectors shock ‘victory’

Campaigners demonstrating outside South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive offices in Sheffield before the latest meeting

Campaigners demonstrating outside South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive offices in Sheffield before the latest meeting

Campaigners have backed a ‘partial victory’ in their fight against travel cuts after a new deal was brought to the table.

Plans to reverse a decision on concessionary travel for disabled people – so they can ride free on buses, trains or trams – will now be put to transport chiefs on May 19.

Pensioners could also be given half price rail travel under the proposals, which would cost around £200,000 and be funded by the four South Yorkshire councils.

But bus travel for OAPs will still be restricted to after 9.30am.

Lively protests have taken place since the cuts were made by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive in April to save £629,000.

And a judicial review was also sought by Sheffield Law Centre on behalf of two disabled clients on the basis that the transport authority had not considered adequately the impact on them.

Wheelchair user Michelle Turner, one of the clients and a Sharrow resident, said: “I am extremely pleased at the outcome, not just for myself but for all the disabled people affected.

“Disabled people face a lot of barriers with access to transport and other services.

“The new proposals are an important step in the right direction to increase access for disabled and older people.”

Barnsley Council leader Coun Sir Steve Houghton, who announced the proposals, stressed they were ‘not a result of people who have been breaking the law’ by taking part in freedom rides on trains without paying for tickets.

Disabled Gleadless mum Jennifer Bush, who had to walk an hour a day to take her child to school because of the cut, said: “It is a collective victory.

“If it wasn’t because of the freedom rides then there would have been no change on train travel for pensioners.”

The news came out of the blue for protesters yesterday as nothing had been said at their meeting with the transport executive on Thursday.

George Arthur, chairman of Barnsley Retirees Action Group, added: “I’m absolutely pleased, it shows all the protests were worth doing.

“It is a partial victory and we will discuss whether we need to carry out more protests for better conditions.”

The new Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee will make the decision. If approved, changes will apply from June 8.

 

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