Fury over cuts to free travel schemes in South Yorkshire

The park and ride scheme at Woodlands. Picture: Marie Caley D2721MC
The park and ride scheme at Woodlands. Picture: Marie Caley D2721MC

A controversial decision to axe free travel schemes for thousands of elderly and disabled people will stop many from getting out and about, it has been claimed.

Transport bosses have ruled all locally funded concessionary rail travel in South Yorkshire will be removed and free bus travel for OAP’s and disabled people will also start at 9.30am, rather than 9am.

In addition, the express 638 bus service which links Doncaster’s park and ride sites in Woodlands and Rossington will also be halted. The two sites will still be connected by normal services - the journey times of which are longer.

Vicky Ferres, 60, chief executive of Age UK Doncaster, said: “Doncaster has one of the lowest rates of car ownership among older people in the UK and so many people rely on public transport.

eople will struggle to get out. At a time when we are concerned about isolation and loneliness among older people, this decision is a retrograde step.”

Commuter Phil Penfold, 64, of Lawn Road, who has a concessionary pass added: “It is disgraceful. This will stop people from getting out.”

South Yorkshire’s Integrated Transport Authority (SYITA) said “tough decisions” had to be made to meet savings of £8.3 million - around 10 per cent of its annual budget. Child concessionary fares will be frozen at 70p in 2014-15.

Balby councillor Mick Jameson, chairman of SYITA, said the authority had little choice to raise fares or make cutbacks because of reduced government funding.