Are you ready to stand up or make excuses?

Freedom Riders demonstration
Freedom Riders demonstration
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The Freedom Riders protest group campaigns for the restoration of the policy of free travel for the disabled and pensioners that was abandoned by the South Yorkshire Transport Authority some years ago under circumstances that raised eyebrows in my household and possibly others.

Attending the Freedom Riders third anniversary’ event outside Sheffield Midland station I was struck by the absence of politicians or councillors from Sheffield.

This may appear trivial but for the fact that for the third year running South Yorkshire Transport Authority has underspent its budget for concessionary fares for the disabled and pensioners by more than £1 million (several times the cost of restoring the free transport policy).

Rail companies receive multi-million pound hand-outs from government to run services.

It costs no more to run these with a few pensioners or disabled on free passes than to run them empty – it has to be seriously questioned whether rail companies’ real motivation for running them with empty carriages is to find an argument for reducing services.

The next time I hear a politician lamenting public apathy for politics I shall remind them about the absence of politicians from the anniversary event.

If I missed a declaration of world war that kept Sheffield politicians from attending perhaps they might consider a move to the planet concerned because the only war on this planet is between those who are prepared to stand up and those who make excuses and hope no one will notice.

John Baker

Columbia Place, S2