Socialist Worker

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders defiant

by Dave Gibson
Issue No. 2419

Three weeks of intense campaigning by Barnsley freedom riders have forced transport bosses into talks.

Protesters were set to meet Northern Rail and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive on Tuesday of next week.

We are demanding to have free train travel for older people reinstated. 

We had this right up until March this year when the South Yorkshire Labour councils axed it as part of implementing Tory budget cuts. 

In six months of campaigning we have won back free train travel for disabled people and some concessions for older people. 

The campaign keeps gaining momentum. Managers complain that the campaign is leading to many rail travellers refusing to pay, saying that they are freedom riders too.

And there was a solidarity rally of 80 people on Friday of last week. 

People came to hear trade union speakers from the Care UK strike, the vice-president of the Aslef rail union, the bakers’ union regional secretary and Paul Russell of the National Pensioners Convention.

We collected £153 for the Care UK strike fund and followed the rally with a march around the town.

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