24 hour free travel in London

29 01 2008

Ken Livingstone argues for a 24-hour Freedom Pass for the elderly and disabled.

At the moment, you can’t use your Freedom Pass before 9.30am. So if you need to travel to a job and you’re disabled enough to be entitled to a Freedom Pass, you’re stuffed, and have to pay full price for travel. Ken says elderly Londoners tell him they need to travel to appointments and make other trips before 9am (what other trips? a job?! and why are pensioners getting appointments so early in the morning, is this so they can get to work afterwards?!). So Ken wants to provide 24 hour access to London transport by extending the operating hours of the Freedom Pass. I wonder if Ken has listened to disabled Londoners – there are probably far more disabled than elderly Londoners trying to hold down a job. It seems to me that disabled Londoners are an afterthought, a lucky by-product of an advantage given to the elderly.

As travel is now free on buses for the under-18s, half-price for those on income support, and soon-to-be completely free for the elderly and disabled, the burden is heavier on the ordinary commuter. But I’d like to know where all those high rail charges and fare increases are going – so much transport is late, cancelled, dirty, there are few staff around at stations if any, there are no train guards / ticket conductors / tube staff, and generally the transport system is deemed unsafe.

It looks like we’re getting access (and any other improvements) at the price of service quality. Would you agree?



3 responses

29 01 2008

Well…if they do allow the freedom pass to be used on trains before 9.30 I for one will welcome the decision as the train is the best way for me to get into central London. If deaf people can use the tube and bus free before 9.30am then why are the trains currently exempt?

Do you not feel the freedom pass is justified? I sometimes have difficulty explaining to hearing friends why deaf people should have one. But all I can say is that its a big help for me financially – especially at the moment. I’m sure that if there was a study of the average wage of a deaf person compared to a hearing person there would be a significant gap.

29 01 2008

I agree that it’s hard to argue justification for a Freedom Pass for deaf people and agree that profoundly deaf people are likely to not get paid as well as hearing people, therefore this is sufficient financial justification for having one as far as I’m concerned. But I feel that Ken is bending over backwards to accommodate everyone and is this something that is realistically affordable? Why should all children travel free? Transport is getting more expensive every year and I’m not seeing much improvement in services and facilities.

29 01 2008

Yes – not convinced that children should be able to travel free. Half-price would be fine. Might help pay for the damage some of them cause!

I guess its all about re-distribution of wealth which Livingstone is very keen on – making it easier financially for the more disadvantaged groups in society…and it probably earns him a few votes!

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