South Yorkshire transport cut campaigners show their fight is still ‘alive’

A crowd of 100 campaigners who fought transport cuts showed their protest is still ‘alive’ - one year after two members were dramatically arrested.

The South Yorkshire Freedom Riders group met outside Sheffield Railway Station, where two members were arrested on platform four a year ago during a protest against cuts to travel passes for the elderly and disabled.

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders protest at Sheffield Station a year after some of the protestors were arrested on the station

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders protest at Sheffield Station a year after some of the protestors were arrested on the station

Barnsley resident George Arthur, 64, who was detained with 65-year-old Tony Nuttall last June, said: “We want to show our campaign continues and that we are still fighting.

“Very early on we had free train travel for the disabled and half price travel for the elderly in South Yorkshire reinstated.

“Several bus companies that operate in Barnsley and South Yorkshire have now £1 fares for the elderly before 9.30am.”

The most recent victory came into force last week, as OAPs in Barnsley are now able to use Stagecoach services for free before 9.30am if they have an early hospital appointments.

However, the battle continues on other fronts.

Although charges of obstruction and fare evasion against the two pensioners were dropped last December, complaints made to British Transport Police are still being investigated.

Mr Nuttall said: “They seem to be just stringing things out as long as possible in the hope that we will go away.

“It is not acceptable that an investigation of this sort takes a year and we have made it clear we are unhappy.”

A transport police spokesman said: “Our Professional Standards Department’s investigation into the matter is still ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment.”

Barnsley Retirees Action Group will now invite South Yorkshire transport bosses to a meeting and they are considering more ‘freedom rides’ - where they refuse to pay to ride public transport.

Next Wednesday July 1 they will also support Trade Union and Socialist Coalition members at a protest against council cuts outside Sheffield Town Hall from 1pm.