CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Suspension of our freedom passes is an insult

15 October, 2021

Freedom pass suspension: ‘Have you any shame Sadiq Khan and TfL?’

• THE “temporary” suspension on the freedom pass working on weekdays between 4.30am-9am is an insult to the dignity of retired senior citizens and to their pocket, an affront to those still working, and a burden on the NHS.

It proved a huge asset to taxi companies and to Transport for London. Nice one Sadiq Khan.

I wrote to you in January of this year when, to my fury, I found that I could not take a bus in order to attend a hospital appointment I had for 9am.

Stranded at the bus stop I hailed a cab. It cost me £13.50 to get just four miles up the road at 8.15am from my home to University College Hospital.

I have since written to a number of hospitals to point out that they would be advised not to offer early appointments to senior citizens; as if they haven’t enough to deal with!

I wrote to Sadiq Khan and TfL, with no response.

Those of us who are retired would obviously avoid travelling in a bus packed with workers and schoolchildren when we can have a leisurely, more peaceful, ride later on.

Believe it not, (clearly this was beyond the mayor’s comprehension) most of us still have enough sense to work out how to avoid the evening rush hour too.

We didn’t need a patronising instruction from the mayor to avoid these hours, but we did, and still do, need a mayor who understands that sometimes these hours can’t be avoided.

This bizarre and unnecessary affront to us is also a burden on the NHS which does make an effort, when it can, to try to accommodate senior citizens’ appointments in the knowledge of this restriction.

And what of those over-60s who have a freedom pass and are still working? They didn’t down tools and stay at home in the face of this affront. They were out there more vulnerable than the young but continuing to work at a greater cost to their finances and to their health.

Have you any shame Sadiq Khan and TfL?

They could no longer use their freedom pass to get to work in a morning. They had to set up a means to pay that ordinarily hadn’t been necessary, and was quite a bureaucratic nightmare to arrange I was told.

Has the mayor and TfL got a rational explanation for this hike other than “let’s rip someone off, preferably those least likely to fight back”? And no Covid won’t do as an excuse.

ELAINE CHAMBERS, NW3

Categories

Share this story

Post a comment

,