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Paper joins pensioners to march on Parliament

The South London Press has marched on Parliament with hundreds of pensioners to demand that the Government safeguards their free travel.

For the past two months the newspaper has been campaigning to Keep Travel Free For OAPs.

And as the fight reached its climax, it joined pensioners carrying campaign-branded placards at Westminster to demand a top-level response.

Under conditions of the Transport Act 2000, all local authorities must offer at least 50 per cent off bus fares, but London’s boroughs currently go further, handing over £170m a year for the Freedom Pass, which gives free travel on ALL public transport across zones 1 to 6.

But in December, a report to the Government recommended cutting free travel back to half-price bus fares, to free up cash to sub students, jobseekers and “socially excluded” groups.

And while pensioners say they agree travel costs for these groups should be subsidised, they don’t want it to be at their expense.

The Department for Transport has now said it has “no plans” to force changes, but pensioners are not reassured and say they want a rejection of the recommendations in writing.

Hundreds of OAPs have shown their support for the South London Press campaign during the past two months, with reporter Mike Pflanz receiving up to 70 cut-out coupons a day at the paper’s Streatham Hill offices, and scores of messages left on a dedicated campaign hotline.

Mike said: “The response has been amazing because this is an issue which obviously so many readers care a great deal about, which was only picked up by us at the South London Press.”

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