South Yorkshire travel cuts crunch meeting

Pensioners protest at Barnsley Interchange about proposed changes to travel concessions
Pensioners protest at Barnsley Interchange about proposed changes to travel concessions
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A meeting which could reverse cuts to travel for OAPs and disabled people has been moved to a larger venue.

Barnsley Town Hall will now host the meeting of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive board on Monday.

It had originally been planned to take place in the executive offices on Regent Street, but was changed to allow more members of the public to attend.

Plans to reverse a cut to free travel for disabled people, so they can catch buses, trains or trams at any time, and to offer half price train travel to pensioners, will be on the table at the meeting.

Protesters have been leading ‘freedom rides’ on trains around the region for weeks after cuts were made to save £629,000 following Government funding reductions.

George Arthur, secretary of the Barnsley Retirees’ Action Group, said: “Perhaps the change of venue means that they will actually take note of what people have to say this time, unlike the meeting that made the cuts, where Alan Thorne spoke about the impact they would have on visually impaired people and the meeting just carried on, ignoring it all.”

Protesters are now preparing for what could be their final demonstrations, and are still fighting for a change to reinstate free bus travel for OAPs before 9.30am.

If approved, the new measures would be funded by the four councils in South Yorkshire to the cost of £200,000.

On Saturday crowds of hundreds of people are expected to meet at 11am at the Barnsley College end of Eastgate before a march around the town centre and a rally in Peel Square.

Tosh Macdonald, from train drivers’ union ASLEF, will address the crowds on the day.

A lobby is also planned before the board meeting takes place on Monday.