Don’t pass us by! Pensioners’ protest
A GROUP of pensioners are making a trip to Parliament in a bid to solve issues over the introduction of free bus passes. Members of the Royston and Cambridge Pensioners Action Groups, and veteran campaigner Terry Hutt, are to voice their concerns to MPs O
A GROUP of pensioners are making a trip to Parliament in a bid to solve issues over the introduction of free bus passes.
Members of the Royston and Cambridge Pensioners Action Groups, and veteran campaigner Terry Hutt, are to voice their concerns to MPs Oliver Heald and Andrew Lansley.
Mr Hutt said: "It's our chance to ask a few questions, especially regarding the travel issues.
"We will be the voice of the people."
Problems have occurred since the introduction of free bus passes for anyone over the age of 60.
In Herts, the permit allows holders to free travel on journeys starting or finishing in the county, and some destinations outside the county.
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However, the permit is not valid on any service that is operated by Stagecoach from Hertfordshire into Cambridgeshire.
Pensioners will now have to pay full fare if they wish to travel into Cambridge.
Before the free passes, pensioners travelled for half-fare as long as journeys started and finished on a return ticket in Hertfordshire.
Pensioner Jennifer Watson of Royston, said she was told the half-fare had been discontinued and had to pay £4.50 for a return to Cambridge.
"I always thought being a pensioner meant that you could relax and enjoy life. All they are doing is making it expensive to get around," she said.
Mr Hutt said: "We should be entitled to free travel everywhere. I have close links to pensioners in both Royston and Cambridge and they all feel the same - they are outraged."
In Herts, the permit will be valid across the whole county and can be used at any time of the day.
Mr Hutt said: "Free travel for pensioners is something that I have been campaigning for over the last 16-years.
"The changes made in Herts are a step in the right direction."
"Some areas are getting better service than others. People who live over the boundary will have to pay extra. They are not getting a fair deal."
John Nicholl of Sun Hill, Royston, said pensioners wanting to travel into Cambridgeshire had been "disadvantaged".
He added: "We thank the combined brains of our county councils in both Herts and Cambridgeshire. They are learning from Downing Street."
The main cause for concern seems to have stemmed from the Stagecoach No 26 route from Royston to Cambridge, which has been excluded from any free concessions.
In a reply to Mr Nicholl, Christine Phillips, a planning services technical officer, said: "Due to a wealth of feeling from residents in Royston, the council is currently looking to address the problem. This will take time and negotiation.
"The outcome is not guaranteed and will not result in free fares to Cambridge.
"However, some form of concession could be arranged.