Union criticises TfL’s concessionary suspension

Trade union TSSA has labelled TfL’s temporary suspension of the Freedom Pass and 60+ card as a ‘cruel policy’.

In the announcement that TfL has received a government funding and financing package to protect its services during the coronavirus pandemic, the temporary suspension of the Freedom Pass and 60+ card concessions to off peak hours was announced. The capital’s transport authority said the move was made in order to reduce the risk of crowding and to encourage vulnerable groups from using public transport at the busiest times when there is greater risk of transmission and it may not be possible to socially distance. The deal also sees the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s. TfL said special arrangements will be made to ensure children eligible under national legislation can still travel to school for free. These changes are due to take place as ‘soon as practicable’.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has called on the Government to ditch its of withdrawing free travel for children and the over 60s on public transport in London.

Cortes said: “There’s no doubt a deal was required to keep London moving in the midst of this public health emergency but what the Tories are insisting on punishes ordinary Londoners, the elderly and children in particular.

“I say to Ministers now – this is a cruel and needless policy which further ramps up social injustice in a city which already receives no direct Government funding to run day to day transport services.

“The Government should think again and engage with London Mayor, Sadiq Khan to find a better solution so that those least able to afford it do not pick up the tab for the effect of Coronavirus on public transport.

“Questions must be asked about the Government’s motives for withdrawing free travel and to add insult to injury we are yet to see any detail about when this might happen. Will it be weeks or months?

“It’s remarkable that Government is discussing how schools will return but at the same time believes it’s okay to charge for the 1.5 million journeys undertaken by children on buses in London every day.”

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