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Train travel row goes on at Barnsley station

Protests at Barnsley railway station

Protests at Barnsley railway station

More than 80 protesters gathered at Barnsley railway station yesterday to make their voices heard about cuts to free train travel for the elderly.

Campaigners known as freedom riders are holding three demonstrations at the station this week in a bid to ‘step up the pressure’ in the fight over free travel passes.

Earlier this year, free train travel for the elderly and disabled in South Yorkshire was withdrawn, though it has since been reinstated for the disabled.

Demonstrations will be held again tomorrow, on Friday, on August 19 and 21, and every day from August 25 to 29, all at 11am.

Tony Nuttall, Barnsley Retirees Action Group spokesman, said: “The freedom riders were once again prevented from travelling yesterday by a massive security presence. It is believed Northern Rail is spending £5,000 on security every time there is a proposed freedom ride.”

The protesters said they are due to meet with the firm - but Northern Rail stressed it will be a discussion about facilitating protests and any decision is up to South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

And a Northern Rail spokesman said: “We have no idea where the figure of £5,000 has come from and it is certainly not correct. We don’t have a specific cost each time as we don’t pay for British Transport Police officers and our revenue protection staff are deployed where required.

“The concessionary travel scheme is provided by SYPTE and therefore any discussion around the reinstatement of it needs to be managed by them. We are just one of many transport operators throughout the region. We have accepted, in principle, the invitation to a meeting on how we can resolve unnecessary confrontation at Barnsley station.”

 

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