South Yorkshire freedom riders’ new protest

Pensioners protesting over the travel cuts
Pensioners protesting over the travel cuts
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Travel cuts protesters have vowed to ‘step up’ their campaign by hosting a county-wide protest next week.

They have dubbed the ‘freedom ride’ demonstration – where people ride public transport and refuse to pay – the Tour de South Yorkshire in a nod to the Tour de France.

The protest netted a partial success when cuts to concessionary travel for disabled people were reversed at a meeting last month.

But elderly passengers say a half-price train fare compromise was ‘not good enough’ and they still cannot travel on buses or trams before 9.30am and after 11pm.

They have also highlighted the cost of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire compared to the £629,00 which was saved by the cuts.

Councils have contributed to the cost of hosting the bike race – with Sheffield Council paying out £900,000.

The economic benefit of the world’s biggest cycling event coming to Sheffield on July 6 is expected to top £10m.

Dave Gibson, a member of Barnsley Retirees Action Group, said: “We are not against the Tour de France, but who decided that a bike race should be a priority when councils are making savage cuts to services?”

Free travel for disabled pass holders, and half price train travel for elderly residents, comes into force this Sunday, June 8.

But campaigners have vowed to continue fighting until the original concessions are reintroduced by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

Freedom Rides will leave Rotherham rail station at 11.27am on Monday, Doncaster at 11.03am, Mexborough at 11.15am and Sheffield at 11.24am. Barnsley campaigners meet at 11am at Barnsley rail station.