Over-60s bus pass a thing of the past
PICTURE this. My soon-to-be 60-year-old mother is getting ready for a trip to the city centre, to do some shopping. For the last few months she’s been looking forward to getting her over-60s bus pass.
Coming from a family with very little, a bus fare is an expense that falls very far down the list of essentials.
My mother is a full-time carer for her oldest daughter, an autistic 31-year-old.
My sister cannot leave the house alone, and yet doesn’t qualify for the carer’s pass because she is physically capable of walking out of the house and stepping on to a bus.
She has very little social contact at present due to a severe lack of funding, thanks to the Conservative government we currently suffer.
Adding extra money for one of us to take her somewhere is an added issue which restricts our movement.
She can’t walk far, so transport is essential. I live at home and work a zero-hour contract which is erratic at best.
So my mother is planning all of the wonderful things she can do once she gets her bus pass. Being the cautious person she is, she asks me to check online and make sure that the over60s bus pass still exists.
Knowing this government, things are being snatched away and dragged into the dark while everyone is looking the other way, and the poor, elderly and disabled are always at the front of the line.
Imagine my dismay, when I checked the government website for information, and found that she would not be getting her pass until 2023. And my anger when learning that everyone in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and LONDON would still be getting theirs.
Now, I don’t begrudge anyone their over-60s pass. But how fair is it to penalise the rest of England?
This may sound like a small issue to a lot of people. I know there have been many debates about whether over-60s should even get a free pass.
But from the inside of our little family, watching my mother deflate when I broke the news, this is a massive issue. One that spans the whole of England. And one that has been strangely absent from the news.
Another victim of a government telling us all to live within their means, while claiming millions in expenses on top of their salaries.
My mother’s heart broke a little that day. A little of the hope I see in her eyes dimmed. How much further do we have to go? I’d suggest getting the bus, but that isn’t really an option now. DANIELLE ALLEN