South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority last week approved proposals to remove a number of local travel concessions. Whilst there are a number of changes the principal ones are as follows:
1. NO free travel before 9:30am on buses and trams in South Yorkshire for people with a VI mobility pass.
2. NO free travel on trains in South Yorkshire at any time.
These concessions have been removed as a result of the reduction in funding from the 4 local authorities in South Yorkshire, including Sheffield City Council.
At the meeting last week when these proposals were approved there was representation from a group of visually impaired people from Sheffield and Barnsley, led by Alan Thorpe. He put the case for retention of the local concessions very well but unfortunately approval was still granted on a vote of 7 to 5, a very narrow margin.
SRSB are now running a campaign to have the decision reviewed and you can help us with this. The final approval of Sheffield City Council budgets is at a full council meeting on Friday 7th March where we will be objecting to the removal of funding. We are emailing every councillor in Sheffield to register our opposition to the changes and explaining the negative impact it will have on blind and partially sighted people, not just financially but in terms of handling change to pay for the ticket, taking of bus tickets etc etc. However, many councillors are likely to take more notice if they receive letters or emails from individuals. You will all have 3 councillors and I would urge you to contact them as a matter of urgency, explaining what these changes will mean for you – please make it clear in your email/letter if you hold a VI mobility pass.
You can find out who your 3 councillors are, together with their email address via the council website and just enter your post code or contact Patrick at SRSB (Patrick@srsb.org.uk) and he will do this for you. If you are not sure what to write then please contact Patrick who will help you.
Please spread this message far and wide to anybody that you think may be impacted by the changes. If you use Facebook, Twitter etc then please spread the message that way as well. SRSB will be putting a post on our Facebook page and on Twitter today. If you hear any coverage of this topic on Radio Sheffield then please phone in to Radio Sheffield to give your views on the matter or if covered in the newspapers etc then please respond to those articles as well. The more coverage we can generate for this campaign the more chance we have of getting the changes reviewed.
If you email or write to your councillors please can you let us have a copy so that we know which councillors have been contacted.
Also, if you are able, please keep the afternoon of Friday 7th March from 12noon free as we may be planning something for that afternoon to register our objection to the removal of the concessions.
We will keep you informed of progress.