CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Fix this madness over the freedom pass

14 January, 2021

Time London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, woke up to his role as a democratic representative of the people and demanded that TfL explain their ‘reason’ for this attack on older folk

Open letter to Camden Council 

• HERE is something you need to know and fix for people with a freedom pass.

Transport for London, during the first lockdown which continues to this day, banned people with a freedom pass from using it to travel on public transport before 9am.

Did someone in their employ see masses of silver-haired old folks queueing for seats in the rush hour? I think not.

This bizarre, unnecessary, irrational, and insulting, ban assumes we oldies have no common sense.

No senior citizen with all the time in the world took a rush hour train, tube or bus when they knew they could travel in comfort later in the day. Having silver hair doesn’t mean your common sense has disappeared.

If we then have a hospital appointment that requires us to travel before 9am, we have a complex process to get through in order to be able to pay a full fare.

Then what of the not-so-silver-haired folk, the peppered ones? They too have a freedom pass, and are still out there working, staffing offices et al. They can’t use their passes because they need to be in work before 9am.

The government deemed you old enough to have a freedom pass, appreciated your continued work, but an unelected company, TfL, decided they would ignore this respect and take away that right.

They then set up complex arrangements for you to worry about, demanding you purchase an Oyster card; and then having to load it up with the full fares by a system that is not available at all tubes stations, you have to guess which ones do this.

Was this convoluted process dreamt up by some demented individual working for TfL who hates older people?

What is the rationale behind this utterly bizarre restriction? What has it achieved? And more to the point, who is running London, an elected mayor or TfL?

Time the heads of London councils stood up to TfL and demanded a stop to this.

Time London’s mayor woke up to his role as a democratic representative of the people and demanded that TfL explain their “reason” for this attack on older folk.

The only sector benefiting from this madness are the taxis. It’s now costing around £25 for a four-mile journey across London.

Let’s have this stopped now.

ELAINE CHAMBERS, NW3

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