CROYDON COMMENTARY: The Tory transport minister is ‘stealing free travel from young Londoners just when they need it most’.
By CAROLINE RUSSELL, the Green Party London Assembly Member
Schools are now going back but nobody can yet tell under-18s in London what is happening to their travel – how much they might need to pay, for what journeys, and whether any school travel might remain free.
This is a mess, and it’s a mess the government has made.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has said that the Transport for London bail-out condition, removing Zip cards, was attached to the deal at the last minute. Young people’s travel has been used as a political football.
This is outrageous at a time when their futures are on the line.
Free travel for young people is about much more than getting to school. It can also support access to work, seeing friends and family, and to use our museums and galleries to catch up on the education that has been so hard-hit during lockdown.
The government should give more money to fill the gaps in the walking and cycling budget rather than cutting access to public transport, which may be more likely to get young people into their parents’ cars than on to their bikes.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps should not try to steal free travel from young Londoners, just when they need it most.
Read more: London’s free school travel to end in October, Tories insist
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If you want to give the working class and other families who have fought to get their children into the best possible schools, often involving convoluted public transport journeys, a kick in the teeth, then this is exactly how you do it.
Well done Grant Shapps.
Everyone knows Mr Johnson has asked cabinet ministers to make an offering to his foul plate, but even the Great Lumbering Buffon himself will be taken aback at the blundering fuck-up of a mistake Shapps has just made.
The repercussions of his decision will be seen in days, not months.