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Older Londoners wait to hear if morning travel concessions will be reinstated

Published on 13 October 2020 04:00 PM

Over 120 days since the ‘temporary’ suspension of pre-9am weekday travel concessions, older Londoners are waiting on an imminent announcement about their Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster Card travel.

Transport for London’s current financial settlement with the government comes to an end on Saturday 17th October and Londoners will soon find out what conditions will (or won’t) be part of any new deal. For older Londoners who have had to pay full fares to make even essential morning journeys since mid-June this means learning if concessions will be reinstated.

When answering questions from members of the London Assembly Transport Committee last week TfL’s Commissioner, Andy Byford, said he could not say whether older Londoners’ concessions would or wouldn’t be included in negotiations. Meanwhile, a written question to the Mayor from London Assembly Chair, Navin Shah, about when the suspension will be lifted has not received a reply some 20 days since its submission.

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. Earlier this month Age UK London wrote to the Mayor to ask that the suspension be lifted and to ensure concessions would not be used as a bargaining chip between by the government or TfL.

The letter was written by Age UK London’s Chief Executive, Abi Wood, who said:

“We’ve always been clear that this suspension penalises older Londoners making essential journeys such as NHS workers and carers. London already had the highest rate of ‘pensioner poverty’ in the UK but 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.”

The decision about older Londoners’ travel concessions is expected towards the end this year’s London Challenge Poverty Week.

Click here to read 7 facts about poverty and older Londoners.