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Age UK London urges the government not to use older Londoners’ travel concessions as a bargaining chip

Published on 20 October 2020 05:16 PM

Older Londoners’ travel concessions must not be used as a bargaining chip in last minute
negotiations with TFL, says charity Age UK London.

Following the announcement of a two-week extension to the current deal, both TFL and the
Department for Transport must now agree a new funding deal by 31st October.

It is over four months since Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster card travel was suspended before
9am on weekday mornings as a condition of the current funding deal. Speculation has been
rising since Friday that the next funding deal will not see a lifting of the suspension, originally
announced as a ‘temporary’ measure, but instead mean even greater restrictions on older
Londoners concessions.

Age UK London have been campaigning against the suspension since it was first announced in
May on the grounds that it penalises older Londoners, particularly those on low incomes, with
no choice about when and how they travel.

Age UK London’s Chief Executive, Abi Wood, said:

“Earlier this month we wrote to the Mayor to ask that the suspension be lifted and to call on the
Department for Transport to recognise that travel concessions are a lifeline for older Londoners
on low incomes.”

“We’ve always been clear that this suspension penalises older Londoners making essential
journeys such as NHS workers and carers. London already has the highest rate of ‘pensioner
poverty’ in the UK and the suspension comes at a time when older Londoners in the job market
have been hit particularly hard. The number of older Londoners needing out-of-work support
such as Universal Credit has doubled in just seven months due to the pandemic and we know
that only one in three older workers made redundant find a new job within three months.”

“Older Londoners have told us they are only travelling with extreme caution because of the
pandemic. People are not travelling because they feel like it but because they have no
alternative. This attack on concessions will drive more into poverty and exacerbate the capital’s
social isolation crisis”