Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Free bus travel to end farce is no thanks to Tory council...

Have the Tories who run one of the UK’s meanest concessionary fares schemes for pensioners and disabled people had a sudden burst of generosity…?

No, of course not. But you’d certainly be forgiven for thinking so if you read last night’s Peterborough Evening Telegraph (not on the online version so no link).

Under the headline Free bus travel for the elderly, news of a new scheme to provide free national bus travel for the elderly and disabled from next April.

Conservative councillor Maureen Spencer-Gregson is quoted:

From April 1 2008 the new scheme will enable our residents who qualify and use bus passes to travel free beyond our district.

This represents a significant service improvement from the current arrangements which restrict free travel within the council’s boundaries.

Funny that there's no mention that Maureen and her mates have had to be dragged kicking and sreaming to do the decent thing.

The change is entirely due to Gordon Brown, not Maureen and her mean mates.

Gordon Brown has introduced nation-wide off-peak free bus fares for pensioners and disabled people precisely because of the meanness of councils like Grantham-based South Kesteven District Council.

I’ve been campaiging for years for this change – that’s how I became known as Fair Deal Phil.

For years, SKDC has been the only council in Lincolnshire which refused to join a county-wide scheme which extended concessionary fares to nearby towns such a Peterborough.

So we have had the ludicrous farce of pensioners from other districts travelling on a concession through South Kesteven to shops and hospitals in Peterborough – while our own pensioners are forced to pay full fare for a shorter journey on the same bus!

Now at last the discrimination against our local pensioners – and disabled people – will be stopped.

Thanks to Gordon Brown and a Labour Government.

No thanks to the mean Tories who run our local council.


Anonymous said...

This is good news.

What you didn't mention, Phil, is that they are dropping subsidy to taxis in order to pay for it.

The argument always went that since South Kesteven were hostile to rural bus, they would allow the scheme to cover taxis.

To put it kindly, this was open to abuse. I'm actually glad to see it dropped.

Now there will be no excuse for continuing the hostility to rural bus.

Progress at last, more than you say.

fairdealphil said...


thanks for the clarification.