Leyton Kids’ Free Travel Safe – For Now!

Ken protests at the Tories' attempt to cut free bus travel

Some of you may of already read over at Omar’s blog that the London Assembly Tories’ disgraceful attempt to thwart the Mayor of London’s budget was unsucessful on Wednesday.

Mayor Ken Livingstone, (pictured above centre) was joined by Jennette Arnold, Waltham Forest’s London Assembly Member (pictured directly to Ken’s left), members of the South Eastern TUC, students and young people from all over the capital, to protest at the London Assembly Tories’ threat to the Mayor’s free travel for Under-18s scheme.

More Labour Assembly Members join the protest

A little while later, I joined the protest with London Labour Assembly Members Joanne McCartney (pictured second from left) who represents Enfield and Haringey, Val Shawcross (pictured third from left) who represents Lambeth and Southwark, and London’s Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron (pictured centre) who leads on London’s Children and Young People’s policy for the Mayor. NUS activist Richard Angell (pictured far left) and Southwark Local Councillor Andrew Pakes (pictured directly to my left) also came along to show their support.

Well done UCU and the T & G!

Commenting on the Assembly debate, which finally agreed the Mayor’s draft budget, Mayor Ken Livingstone said:

“The large number of Assembly members who voted to abolish the free bus travel concession benefiting thousands of families with children should be the cause of real concern across London.

They have not given up on these cuts.

The budget debate has seen free bus travel for under-18s safeguarded for now but there are some members of the London Assembly who seem to want to abolish anything that is free.

Free school milk, free entry to museums, the Freedom Pass, and now free bus travel for under-18s – anything that is free gets threatened.

‘The nasty wing of politics is alive and active on the London Assembly and we should not take today’s safeguarding of free bus travel for children as the end of the attacks on this scheme”.

I couldn’t agree more.

Well done to NUS and the Trades Unions, particularly the TGWU, for organising such a fab protest and for sticking up for London’s low income families.

4 thoughts on “Leyton Kids’ Free Travel Safe – For Now!”

  1. Hmmm…looks like we have our first difference of opinion.
    Free bus travel doesn’t exist. It is budgeted and paid for by taxpayers. As long as I see under and over-18s misuse and abuse the scheme to the extent that they currently do then I can’t wait to see it scrapped. It’s a wonderful idea in principle. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s office didn’t think it through properly on a number of fronts when the launched it.

    Meanwhile my travelcard spirals up and up every time the clock hits January…

    Tom

  2. Hi Tom, I agree with you that misuse is an issue with a small percentage of children – and adults. The Mayor was rightly quizzed on this at the meeting on the 14th of February and has proposed some new ideas to address this. I will keep you posted. However, I saw at first hand the reality that many of the families living around Leyton really wouldn’t left their tower blocks over the summer (I’m not exagerating) without this benefit. Are you yet on Oyster? I know there’s been a big push to get more Londoners onto the Oyster cards as it saves vast sums of travel card cash. The whole Venezuelan oil deal thing is also going to bring prices down apparently (Miranda has been assured). I know the Mayor’s people read this website so your views will be noted! :-) Thanks for posting as always and see you soon. Miranda

  3. Oh cripes! I’m turning into a Tory. My Dad will have my guts for garters if he finds out.

    I do have an Oystercard, although only because I have felt forced by TfL to move onto it. I am not at all keen on the way the system can used to track my movements. Not keen at all. But ho hum, that’s why Ken made it cheaper…to smooth the path for the objectors like me.

    I would beg to differ on the number of people who misuse the system, especially in the outer London boroughs. My partner’s daughter sees it every day without fail on the way too and from school. For my part I’ve been reporting an average 7-10 incidents a week to TfL for several months now….and that’s from someone who hardly uses the bus. It happens on almost every bus I get on in South London…

    I understand that it is a benefit for many. But from my POV as a commuter who already pays over the odds for public transport that is regularly disrupted/late/packed like sweaty sardines in an undersized tin and has price hikes every year I kind of object.

    I don’t earn a huge amount. I’ve had one pay rise in 6 years. Yet I am expected to cover for others to travel for free. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Especially when they behave as they do.

    Strangely Vale has gone from thinking it was great idea that would save her money paying for her daughter to get to school to saying that she would rather pay for her if it meant that by doing so TfL brought some measure of control back to their buses.

    But anyway, that’s just my tuppence worth….don’t get me started on the Venezuelan oil for goodness sake. I object to that even more!!

  4. Interesting. I’m sure the London ‘powers that be’ reading your message will note it with great interest :-) Let’s talk about this when I see you…..

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