How un-fare: Sheffield OAP angry at bus pass swap

Pat Molloy, of Heeley, with his now old mobility pass, and his carer Rachel Berresford.
Pat Molloy, of Heeley, with his now old mobility pass, and his carer Rachel Berresford.

A PENSIONER has hit out at an ‘anomaly’ which means disabled people in Sheffield lose an automatic right to free travel for their carer once they reach retirement age.

Sheffield Homes tenant board member Pat Molloy, of Heeley, has had his mobility pass replaced with a pensioners’ travel pass.

But Mr Molloy is unhappy with the change because his new pass does not cover travel for a carer. It also cannot be used for travel before 9.30am on weekdays.

Mr Molloy, who can only walk a maximum of 50 yards unaided, said: “On my recent 65th birthday my mobility bus permit was confiscated.

“This is apparently standard practice in Sheffield.

“It suggests that in Sheffield you are not supposed to be both old and disabled.

“The problem affects hundreds, probably thousands of Sheffield’s older disabled citizens.”

He added: “My carers would get free entry if accompanying me to such disparate places as the Tower of London, Kelham Island Museum, Chatsworth, any National Trust property, the Crucible, London Eye, Magna Centre, and even the Vatican Museum in Rome.

“But on a Sheffield bus I have to pay for my carer.”

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, which issues the passes, said it was not obliged to provide free travel for carers and that it still provided mobility passes for disabled pensioners in certain circumstances.

She said: “The national rules for concessionary travel require SYPTE to pay for free travel for elderly and disabled people on local buses from 9.30 am to 11pm on weekdays and all day at weekends.

“There is no requirement to provide free travel for travelling companions of severely disabled people.

“The provision of the ‘With Carer’ add-on providing free travel for carers is discretionary for SYPTE.

“We are satisfied that our current administration of the scheme is entirely legal.”