Sunday, 18 October 2009

End of the Twirlies: pensioner bus passes threatened

With a slew of friends passing 60 and collecting their free bus passes, this was one thing I looked forward to in old age when my teeth are lost due to prohibitively expensive dental treatment and all my lovers are dust.

I  might have known it wouldn't be around by the time I was old enough to qualify. Local councils are bleating that they can no longer afford full universal transport for our elderly even though bus profits have made fortunes for the Brian Souters of this world. I suppose all those stupid council investments in Iceland are at last taking their toll.

The London Government Association accuses the pensioners, costing on average only £100 per year, of "taking advantage" of the free travel scheme. But isn't this a marvel? That we have a generation of energetic old people able to get about and keep themselves healthy and stimulated? I wonder how much they are saving the NHS by staying active. Or would the government rather have them indoors and ga-ga in front of their tellies?

The government won't fund the scheme properly. Yet it had billions to spend on bailing out the banks and has left plenty of perks in place for MPs while one of the few remaining marks of a civilised society is threatened. How about subsidising the poor for a change? Add up how much the non-doms, business and bankers have cost the public purse during the UK's richest decade ever and it dwarfs the £1 billion expense of looking after a hard-working generation who helped make the wealth of this country. RBS, 70 per cent owned by us, is set to pay out £1.8 billion in bonuses this year alone.

We surely need an emergency supertax in our hour of need.

Elsewhere on the transport front, Boris Johnson pleads poverty and plans to save £125 million by raising bus fares, mostly used by the poor, by a whacking 20 per cent while losing the same amount by letting off gas guzzlers from a higher congestion charge and aiding his Kensington and Chelsea friends when the West London congestion zone is scrapped. How's that for a reverse Robin Hood? See? I told you not to vote for Boris.

On a positive note, here's one MP I'd vote for. John Mann on why "greedy MPs" should shut up and pay up.


VenerableSage said...

I'm taking this one VERY PERSONALLY INDEED. I've been waiting years for my Freedom Pass, and just as it's almost within my increasingly feeble grasp, they threaten to whisk it away.

I think I'm gonna send a stiff note to their parents and recommend stopping their pocket-money.

splinteredsunrise said...

But look on the bright side, we air travellers will be well catered for when Boris Island is built. Who voted for this bozo anyway?

Gwei Mui said...

Retirement, a supposed time of "freedom". Instead we'll be now worrying about it. Worrying about our pensions (if we have one) whether we can afford to get from a to b and how long we're going to have to work before we can officially retire

harpymarx said...

I must admit I laughed when I read this..." The London Government Association accuses the pensioners, costing on average only £100 per year, of "taking advantage" of the free travel scheme."

I mean, are they expecting pensioners to only use it on a Friday morning...Of course they are going to use it! Bloody hell!!

I attended a TUC conference yesterday and there were lots of pensioners (Note to LGA....they probably used their bus pass to get there!) who spoke about poverty and their state pension. Indeed, much anger was shown when discussing the bail-out and the bankers getting their bonuses.

And one of them said...'tax the rich'! Too bloody right!

....and also quoted Karl Marx (which probably sent shock waves through the TUC bureaucracy!)

Madam Miaow said...

Harpy, that's probably the last generation to quote Marx appropriately and from experience.

Gwei Mui, I don't think the powers that be care about notions of freedom at all. At that age your productive days are over, you've made all the profits you're ever going to make for business, and you're no use to the system any more. We need more compassion for us and higher taxes for them.

Splinty, never mind extra runways, I'm waiting for the Tories to create a helicopter generation for the extremely rich and privileged.