South Yorkshire rail cuts protesters vow to fight on

George Arthur , 64 (left) and Tony Nuttall, 65 (right)
George Arthur , 64 (left) and Tony Nuttall, 65 (right)
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Travel cuts protesters say they will continue to fight against rail concession reductions after airing their views at a South Yorkshire transport meeting.

Members of Barnsley Retirees’ Action Group took to Rotherham Town Hall for the meeting of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.

A raft of budget-cutting measures were announced at the meeting in a bid to save cash on travel services across Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

Travel centres are to close, paper timetables will be scrapped and jobs are set to be lost after transport plans to save £7.6m were agreed.

Bus shelters will only be cleaned once every three months rather than every month and there will be reduced cleaning at interchanges, under the plans by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

The savings also include closing information centres at Sheffield, Meadowhall, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.

The so-called ‘Freedom Riders’ were invited to address the meeting.

The group called on transport bosses to fully reverse their decision to reduce travel concessions for the elderly.

Tony Nuttall, chairman of Barnsley Retirees’ Action Group, said that they opposed all the further cuts proposed by the Combined Authority and that full restoration of the travel passes had to be regarded ‘as a priority’.

George Arthur, Secretary of the group, added: “Our campaign has been an inspiration to campaigners everywhere. We have already won back the travel concessions for disabled people and got half price on the train in South Yorkshire for the elderly.

“Today’s meeting was positive, and we hope further progress can be made. However, whatever happens, our campaign will continue until older people are once more able to travel around our community without worrying about the cost. That is the least that older people deserve after years of working and contributing to society”.