Protesting pensioners vow to continue fight for free train travel

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THE ROW over a decision to scrap a concessionary public transport scheme for the elderly looks set to rage on as both sides refused to back down.

Campaigners calling for South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to re-instate free rail travel for pensioners have vowed to fight on despite the authority ruling out the possibility of a U-turn.

The latest call from the so-called “freedom riders” – who have been taking part in demonstrations by boarding trains without buying tickets since passes were axed in March – comes after the group, led by Barnsley Retirees Action Group, carried out its own public consultation over the changes. They will present their findings to the SYPTE board meeting after a demonstration on Monday, November 3.

Protesters Tony Nuttall and George Arthur, who were arrested during a demonstration at Sheffield railway station in June, are hosting a mass lobby ahead of their appearance at the city’s magistrates court in December.

Mr Nuttall said: “We need to make a stand against people being victimised when they protest.”

A SYPTE spokesperson, said: “We reiterate again that decisions made earlier this year over concessionary travel arrangements for older and disabled people will not be changing. Our message is firm – we simply can’t afford the free rail fare anymore.”