Bexley Council Leader, Cllr Ian Clement, has responded to speculation about the future of the Freedom Pass by making clear that the London boroughs have no plans to reduce any of the free travel benefits enjoyed by holders of the pass.
Cllr Clement spoke out after a statement from the Mayor of London, who claimed that the London boroughs are seeking to undermine the popular free travel scheme.
“The Freedom Pass is not under threat,” explains Cllr Clement. “The issue is simply that the London boroughs want to change the system that gives Transport for London the power to dictate how much the boroughs pay for the pass.
“As things stand, if we can’t reach agreement with TfL on the cost of the pass by the end of the year, they can set the amount. The knowledge that they have this reserve power makes it impossible for London’s local councils to negotiate sensibly with them.
“The Freedom Pass is safe, but we’re determined to change the system that lets TfL hold the London boroughs and their taxpayers to ransom.”
The cost of the Freedom Pass is met by a mix of national grant and contributions from the local authorities, including the Council Tax and surpluses from Council’s parking accounts.
The amount boroughs pay for providing the pass is negotiated between TfL and the London Councils organisation, of which Bexley Council is a member.
Disabled Freedom Pass holders enjoy free 24-hour access to London’s bus, tube and tram services and on national rail services in the capital after 9:30am. Pass holders aged over 60 can travel free on bus, tube and tram services after 9am and on national rail services in London after 9:30am.
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