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Statement: Older Londoners’ travel concessions must be protected this week

Published on 26 October 2020 10:47 AM

As a group of charities, forums and community organisations working with older Londoners we are deeply concern about proposals to further restrict and even remove travel concessions for older Londoners.

Extended negotiations are taking place right now on a new funding settlement for Transport for London and we are extremely concerned by reports of additional cuts facing 60+ Oyster card and Freedom Pass holders. We have heard directly from older Londoners that the current suspension of concessionary travel before 9am on weekdays (introduced on 15th June as a ‘temporary’ measure) has already had a devastating impact on older workers, including those on the pandemic front line; carers; those with early-morning medical appointments; volunteers and many others.

Affordable travel can transform lives. Concessions are not luxuries but lifelines to hundreds of thousands of older Londoners; they enable the enormous contribution older Londoners make to the capital and are a crucial part of our fight against London’s growing social isolation crisis.

Taking travel concessions away from older Londoners who live in the city with the worst pensioner poverty rate in the country and some of the highest living costs in the world will drive up poverty and exacerbate the capital’s social isolation crisis.

There are more than 1.5 million Londoners over the age of 60 and older Londoners have already been among those hit hardest financially by the pandemic. The number of older Londoners relying on out of work support like Universal Credit has doubled in seven months and only one in three older people made redundant find a new job within three months.

As Mayor of London, the current Prime Minister introduced the 60+ Oyster card, which has made a difference to the lives of thousands of older Londoners. Many older people in work on low pay rely on their 60+ Oyster card to travel to their job and to make ends meet.

We oppose all moves to reduce vital travel concessions for older Londoners.

Abigail Wood, Chief Executive Officer, Age UK London; Alice Wallace, Director, Opening Doors London; Asoke Dutta, Chair, Greater London Forum for Older People; Chris Walsh, Chair, Positive Ageing in London; Deven Pillay, Chief Executive, Harrow Mencap; John Bent, Trustee, London Region of U3As; Kirsty Hoyle, Chief Executive Officer, Transport for All