Upload a photo Upload a video Upload an mp3 Upload an event


Meeting Ends In Disappointment For Freedom Riders

Thursday September 11 2014

Barnsley Interchange Barnsley Interchange

FREE train travel for the elderly and disabled will not be returning, transport bosses have said.

A meeting was held on Tuesday between Northern Rail, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and the Barnsley Retirees Action Group.

The group have been holding a series of demonstrations over past months and, in some instances, have travelled unlawfully on trains without a valid ticket.

Tuesday's meeting was organised to discuss the ongoing protests - but it ended in disappointment for the so-called 'Freedom Riders'.

Coun Bill Mordue, chairman of the transport committee, said: "Our message is firm - we simply can’t afford the free rail fare anymore. This has been made clear to the protesters.

"The protesters also have to understand that this was done reluctantly because there isn’t enough money to fund a free scheme anymore.

"The protests are disruptive, they cost the taxpayers to manage and some people have been breaking the law by travelling without a valid ticket."

What do you think? Should the Freedom Riders have free rail travel? Have your say below.

Leave a comment
comments powered by Disqus
45 Showing 45 comments

Reply Posted by Xx on Thursday September 11 2014 at 10:24
Very disappointed in our government when they say we can't afford this, when all they do is waste money on other things that nobody agrees with. Xx

Reply Posted by Mr X on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:40
Not funded by Government - the Train Travel Concession is funded by SYPTE through the 4 Councils of SY!

Reply Posted by kimberley on Thursday September 11 2014 at 10:42
No free rail travel. well done SYPTE for standing up to the OAP'S ,anybody travelling WITHOUT a valid ticket should be fined , pay like the rest of us..

Reply Posted by Mr X on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:39
Hope that when the court case finally happens that Northern Rail throw the book at them - Maximum Penalty for DELIBERATE Ticketless Travel is £1,000 or 3 months imprissionment

Reply Posted by steve on Thursday September 11 2014 at 10:58
Other day I travelled on a bus that had a sign saying this bus was part funded by the sypte? So why should a private company that is there to make a profit for its shareholders, by given funding? If I set up in business could I get a vehicle provided to run my business? Ps kimberley in spain oaps get free travel and also a 2 weeks free holiday.from there government. This helps with employment and there pesions are more than in uk. Remember kimberley you will be old some dayand will want what you have paid into and worked for all your live. Unlike some of our foreign friends who expect and get everything.

Reply Posted by kimberley on Thursday September 11 2014 at 11:16
steve@ what has this got to do with Spain ? Thousands of other countries don't have a bus service free for the pensioners. why do there need to catch a train, when most buses will get them were there want to go.. my elderly parents do not mind paying on the train. The country cant keep throwing money away, a lot of pensioners I speak to are more then happy to contribute to the fares, only a handful protesting and most of them have a car..

Reply Posted by jan on Thursday September 11 2014 at 13:09
Well said Steve, I agree Kimberly should think a little more carefully. Many pensioners live on a pittance through no fault of their own, so to get free travel is least they should be entitled to.

Reply Posted by kimberley on Thursday September 11 2014 at 16:40
the pensioners have never had it so good, fuel allowance, free bus, cold weather payments, Jan@ you are very wrong , most pensioners saved and are now living a decent life, i don't know any pensioner who is struggle.. my parents retired some years ago and have never had it better,,bungalow paid for, nice car, holidays, GET REAL the poor pensioners must have not saved for a rainy day,

Reply Posted by leanne on Thursday September 11 2014 at 16:54
Here here - Kimberley

Reply Posted by cheryl on Thursday September 11 2014 at 10:59
If you want to use a service then you should pay for it! Nobody should be exempt!

Reply Posted by mrx on Thursday September 11 2014 at 11:13
Well done they should now take the half price offer off them and make them pay full for complaining well done northern rail and sypt for not letting them win

Reply Posted by j on Thursday September 11 2014 at 11:33
good on northern rail, u cant stamp your feet and get what u want. Train fare increase this week, im fed up off paying for pensioners bus train and lets not forget heating allowance let them contribute. 1 to train company nil to pensioners.

Reply Posted by STEVEO on Thursday September 11 2014 at 12:29
Hmmmm, so pensioners, the majority of which have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in tax all their working lives, will have to pay full fare?
Rather quixotic don't you think seeing as though those pensioners In question will have paid a certain amount of their taxes to the franchisees of the railways by the "subsidies" that the government pay said franchisees directly from tax payer funds!

One of the most subsidised rail "franchises" in the Western world but alas the "train operating companies / franchisees" tell us they cant make a "reasonable" profit without said franchises.

If us taxpayers constantly have to bail the franchisees out by way of massive subsidy then why not renationalise the railways?

The East Coast Main Line is still owned by the tax paying public and makes a healthy profit, but the idiotic Tories are wanting to sell that franchise , probably to one of their "supporters" or "donators".


Reply Posted by marilyn hallworth on Thursday September 11 2014 at 12:55
I'm a pensioner and I agree with Kimberly I am more than satisfied with my bus pass and on the rare occasions I use the train I have no worries paying the fare. Some people aren't happy unless moaning about stuff they have no reason to moan about. They should definitely be fined for travelling without a ticket stop moaning and above all grow up

Reply Posted by j on Thursday September 11 2014 at 13:35
Soon as I hit 60 - it was 'Get yer bus pass' - errr, why? I very rarely use a bus, so why would I deem it a right to have a pass? Never had anything for nothing, don't want anything for nothing! Wouldn't demean myself - if I can't pay my own way, then I don't go - simples!!

Reply Posted by L on Thursday September 11 2014 at 14:51
I thought train and bus was already free for disabled bus pass holders at any time of the day

Reply Posted by Neil L on Thursday September 11 2014 at 17:55
"I thought train and bus was already free for disabled bus pass holders at any time of the day"

It is, it was taken but the freedom riders won it back. They are now fighting for the train travel for pensioners.

Reply Posted by Guido fawkes on Thursday September 11 2014 at 15:33
Told you a while ago that they were wasting there time,and as I also said they would have been better of pursuing wrighty out of office a far more worthy cause.

Reply Posted by True Red on Thursday September 11 2014 at 15:52
@stevo, Nationalisation of the railway system is a must, we can no longer trust private enterprise, high profits and corruption of the private sector at the expense of the public and should be held answerable. Subsidies are being payed into the private sector by the publi purse at a phenomenal rate, with very little in return.

Reply Posted by Brian on Thursday September 11 2014 at 18:53
Nationalisation is the last thing we want.

Reply Posted by sambo on Thursday September 11 2014 at 16:17
Some day you're going to be a pensioner see what u think then Kimberley

Reply Posted by Mr X on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:45
By the time that most people aged 55 or less get to the age that they can get a Free Bus Pass (as the age limit is slowly increasing to 65 - thinks its about 62 that you qualify now), there will be no buses left to use, as the operators will have been bled dry by the passholders - there are a lot of routes that were profitable prior to 2008, but now with more people being carried (mainly pass holders, on which the reimbursement is dropping drastically as money isn't there to fund the scheme), the routes are on the verge of being withdrawn

Reply Posted by neil b on Thursday September 11 2014 at 17:17
Yes thats it use the "pensioners " as an easy target ! Some on here need to realise that without O.A.P,s you would not have the lifestyle you have now ,life wasnt easy years ago, and we looked fwd to getting an easier time of it after we retired. And how councillor Mordue has the " gall " to lecture us about finance is beyond me, the Labour parealsty cannot clean up its own act ! Oh yes, subsidised meals,generous expenses, and the worse example ..... Shaun Wright, yes money for " old rope " , I say reinstate the free travel like a lot of other council,s DO.

Reply Posted by The truth on Thursday September 11 2014 at 17:49
@kimberly,it just shows you what a protective bubble you live in. Most pensioners are not well off, many struggle to pay electric and gas bills in winter, and if you think the cold weather payment covers it, your living in cloud Tory land. So you think all pensioners have cars do you? Well nip down to your local bus stop,you do know where that is dont you? And see how many pensioners are using public transport. Nip in to town and look in the charity shops,count how many pansioners use it . Your out look on pensioners is like your politics. shallow.

Reply Posted by to the truth on Thursday September 11 2014 at 20:14
WHAT? the pensioners get upto £400 towards fuel bills. so how do there struggle to pay, i am on a low wage but i still have to pay all bills and bus/train fares.. you ar living in cloud cookoo land.

Reply Posted by STEVEO on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:57
Get an education and /or a better job and stop moning

Reply Posted by grammar police on Thursday September 11 2014 at 22:07

Reply Posted by Neil L on Thursday September 11 2014 at 17:51
What makes them think this is over this article is in the past tense when talking about the protests. It is far from over. Pensioners have paid taxes all their lives and free train travel was one of the things they could expect back when retired.

What is theirs will become ours unless we let it all be lost the freedom riders do right in defending what they paid for.

The fight will no doubt go on. Good luck to the protesters. As to the companies can't afford it they are taxpayer subsidised and don't even have any record of how many and how often pensioners were using free travel.

We should end the subsidy's and let the companies fail. Bottom line if pensioners are not traveling the trains at off peak times will be cut and eventually end up running less regular.

Reply Posted by Mr X on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:35
What a load of tosh.

Free Train Travel for Pensioners in SY has only existed since the National BUS Pass came into existance - in 2008!

Prior to this it was 40p a journey!

Why don't these people realise that they have a BUS pass, and that all it legally entitles them to is free Travel on BUSES - It does not entitle free travel on TRAINS or TRAMS - the Train and Tram travel was (and still is) funded by SYPTE as an LOCAL ADDITION to the National Scheme.

People in West Yorkshire were still charged a flat 35p from 2008 - 2012, whereupon it increased to half fare, and did they complain - NO - they acted their age and accepted that the local authority had to withdraw the funding, and they had to pay.

So SY Pensioners have had free travel on Trains for 6 years, and now seem to think its a God Given right!

Reply Posted by Brian on Thursday September 11 2014 at 18:59
If there were no subsidies for certain routes, the bus companies would not fail, quite simply they would not operate those routes. Subsidies are essential in order to maintain a reasonably comprehensive bus service.

Well done to SYPTE for saying no to those childish, immature left-wing led scroungers.

Reply Posted by David on Thursday September 11 2014 at 19:44
They have not paid for this. What they paid for was their parents travel concessions. Did they get free rail travel? NO. We are paying for what they get now and given their behaviour I do not feel inclined to shell out for them.

Reply Posted by grammar police on Thursday September 11 2014 at 22:09

Reply Posted by Matt on Thursday September 11 2014 at 20:04
We have to remember it is the choice of senior citizens to use the train, mainly to go to Meadowhall or Leeds. They do not not need to go on the train. If they need shops, get a free bus to town. It is their choice to go elsewhere and quite right they should pay. Before anyone brings up hospital appointments etc, there are other support mechanisms such as free NHS transport for those who need it.

I am pleased the protestors have been sent packing and hope if is an end to this embarrassing and unfortunate behaviour.

Reply Posted by The truth on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:04
Where in hell do you get four hundred pounds from, it's two hundred, And if you are on a low paid job, don't blame the pensioners, blame your boss. So you will probably get a a subsidised bus pass then. Cloud cookoo lland belongs to people like you, old age comes to us all and it's not that far away for all of us

Reply Posted by Dan on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:29
Listen free travel SHOULD be made available to senior citizens and one day it will. then you will be glad it is

Reply Posted by guido fawkes on Thursday September 11 2014 at 21:52
Ban all free travel and make everybody pay, Transport dosn,t run on fresh air,, what next pensioners getting taxis/ aeroplanes/ horse and cart/ seaside donkeys all FREE.. MAKE THEM PAY. SILLY OLD BUGGERS SHOPPING IN M & S AND PLEADING POVERTY.. WAKE UP

Reply Posted by Guido fawkes on Thursday September 11 2014 at 22:46
Tis the wicked wench Kilkenny ,steveo I thought Tony Blair might have renationalised but he didn't he took us on an illegal war path,as regards pensioners paying tax ,a lot of the elderly in Barnsley have lived on government benefits according to Maggie better on the sick than on the dole ,you know like I do the elderly could contribute more than they be it council rent,something towards transport after all when the trains and buses have been cut back the taxi fares will go up it will cost them more,the state pension it needs means testing,so does the heating allowance all what is happening is the youngsters have a growing animosity towards the elderly or as I say the untouchables,would the queen get a pension and the heating allowance I know she is reaching to the extreme but its a good example to show that it wants looking into.

Reply Posted by Dan on Friday September 12 2014 at 19:47
At last someone with some brains guido fawks. I Can't stop laughing seaside donkeys even

Reply Posted by Dan on Friday September 12 2014 at 20:15
It isn't funded by SYPT the SYPT is funded by the government all the SYPT do after taking there cut is share it out to all transport bodies get your facts right first

Reply Posted by TO DAN on Friday September 12 2014 at 20:40

Reply Posted by incredulous! on Monday September 15 2014 at 09:36
Whilst i dont necessarily agree with free rail travel for pensioners I cannot believe what I am reading from the ignorant people of Barmsley. If the Government provided a living pension and better control to the greedy energy companies there would be no need for heating allowances! Many of the pensioners I encounter live a very meagre existance...they simply didnt have the work place pensions or ability to save through their lives that we perhaps have today. They did however pay taxes and NI all their working lives and do not deserve the disrespect shown here today!

Reply Posted by @incredulous on Monday September 15 2014 at 18:49
Go to the top of the class you said it right even these people on here should be able to understand that!

Reply Posted by confused on Tuesday September 16 2014 at 00:12
So pensioners want free rail travel, to go where exactly? Days out? Shopping ? All require spending money, so surley if they can afford day trips they can afford to pay travel fee's ? If not they would stay home like the poor pensioners do

Reply Posted by To Mr x on Friday September 19 2014 at 19:55
wish you would get to know what your talking about you almost make sense

Reply Posted by Mr X on Wednesday October 8 2014 at 19:09
Give up the fight you aren't going to get it changed. All you are doing is embarrassing fellow OAP'S who have accepted the decision. You are not the only ones being affected by cuts. SYPTE have lost half their work force in the last 2 years due to government cuts and now the Cleaners who work at Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley and Meadowhall Interchanges have been told they are all being made redundant due to SYPTE'S budget being cut further. Give up and be happy with what you've got.