Age UK London raise concerns about 60+ Oyster photocard suspension during peak times
Published on 18 May 2020 04:38 PM
Age UK London is disappointed in the decision to temporarily suspend free travel for Freedom Pass and 60-plus Oystercard holders at peak times (6:30am to 9:30am and 16:00-19:00). The decision penalises some of the most vulnerable older Londoners who do not want to use public transport at peak times but simply don’t have a choice. Age UK London supports advice asking everyone to avoid public transport at peak times in order to protect their health and the health of others.
London already has the highest pensioner poverty rate in the country and these changes will impact the overwhelming majority of older people who travel at peak not because they want to but don’t have the choice about when and how to travel.
Age UK London is concerned about older Londoners who:
• Cannot walk long distance or cycle due to frailty or a physical impairment.
• Need to travel at peak times to get to a medical appointment (e.g. a hospital appointment at 9:30 requiring journey to start at 8:30).
• May not have a suitable computer or good internet connection at home and are therefore less able to work from home.
• They are a carer for an older parent,child or grandchild.
• Cannot afford to take a taxi or minicab.
• May only be able to shop during the supermarket priority hours (which are during peak times)!
As we look forward to seeing London recover it is important to recognise that accessible travel prevents isolation and its negative impact on mental and physical health. Age UKs in the capital have already voiced their concerns about declining mental health due to isolation and inactivity during lockdown and Age UK London wants to ensure these changes are only temporary and not the first step on the road to watering down the concessions.
Abigail Wood, Chief Executive, Age UK London:
“These changes ignore the fact that there are older Londoners who are key workers, may have unavoidable medical appointments or are supporting vulnerable friends and family and have no choice but to travel in peak times. It’s unhelpful and unfair to try to create behaviour change by putting financial pressure on one particular group of Londoners.”