Rail pass changes mean extra cost for elderly

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SOUTH Yorkshire pensioners face an end to discounts if they travel out of the county by train.

Currently, concessionary travel pass holders can catch rail services into West Yorkshire for free on Northern Rail trains, after 9.30am.

However, from Monday, January 2, the discount is being withdrawn due to budget cuts.

Instead, pensioners will receive no discount on train travel into West Yorkshire, to destinations such as Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield, unless they buy a Senior Citizens’ Railcard, which gives one-third off fares, but has an annual fee of £28.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Metro, which is in charge of concessionary discounts in the county, said: “From January 2, holders of English concessionary scheme passes issued by other authorities will not be entitled to any reduced-rate train travel in West Yorkshire.”

West Yorkshire pensioners will have to pay half fare.

A South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive spokesman said: “This is a matter for West Yorkshire.

“We are not changing concessionary travel discounts for rail journeys starting and finishing in South Yorkshire.”

Concessionary pass holders will continue to have free rail travel within the county after 9am on weekdays or any time at weekends.

The change to West Yorkshire’s scheme follows Derbyshire axing their half-fare discount for elderly people as part of cuts to Derbyshire County Council’s transport budget.

One pensioner who regularly takes the train from Sheffield to Leeds, said: “The change will make life harder and I’ll be making the journey less. I’m worried that if fewer people catch them, it could make the trains less viable.”

South Yorkshire concessionary pass holders will still be able to use buses for free in West Yorkshire.