Colchester: Pensioners support campaign group battling to retain free bus passes

CAMPAIGNERS have greeted bus passengers touring the country to raise awareness of Government plans to scrap free universal bus travel for pensioners.

Colchester’s Pensioners’ Action Group gathered at the town’s bus station where they met five fellow pensioners from the West Midlands who have recently travelled through East Anglia on a double decker bus for the second leg of their tour.

Group spokeswoman Jan Plummer said: “Hopefully this tour will highlight the value of universally free bus passes, which helps pensioners get out and about and keeps them independent.

“It supports both their physical and mental health which will save money for they state in the long-term.

“It’s also more environmentally friendly and helps support local economies if pensioners can get out to the shops and spend their money.”

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Before visiting Colchester last Thursday, the passengers had travelled to the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall, the north Norfolk Coast and Sudbury. Afterwards they will visit the Thames at Tilbury and travel along the coast through Kent, Sussex and Hampshire before turning north at Southampton to reach home via Reading, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Tour organiser Richard Worrall said: “While the tours are great fun and offer a wonderful opportunity to experience our lovely, diverse landscapes, there is a very serious point too.

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“The Coalition politicians are now openly talking about plans to reform the universally free England pensioners’ bus travel by making it available only to pensioners whose income is below the tax threshold.

“Bus Passes are essential for prolonging both physical and mental health so the tour is about the need to defend them.”

To sign the “Love the Bus Pass” petition, contact Tim Oxton on 01206 563573 or to find out more about the Colchester Pensioners’ Action Group contact Barbara Williamson on 01206 577921.

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