Is It Bullshit? 'Protecting The Freedom Pass'

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 98 months ago

Last Updated 06 April 2016

Is It Bullshit? 'Protecting The Freedom Pass'

During this election campaign, we'll be examining some of the candidates' claims for the whiff of bullshit.

The claim:

Both Labour and Conservative mayoral candidates are talking about the Freedom Pass.

Zac Goldsmith has three main points on transport: one is "protecting the Freedom Pass". Sadiq Khan says he would "guarantee the Freedom Pass and the over-60s Oyster card, along with all other existing concessionary fares schemes".

What's that supposed to mean?

The Freedom Pass allows free travel for Londoners who are disabled or over the age of 65.

Is it bullshit?

Largely, yes. But we don't mean that the Freedom Pass is in danger — we mean that the mayor doesn't actually fund it.

The Freedom Pass is run by London Councils on behalf of the boroughs, which cough up most of the £350m a year the scheme needs to run. Transport for London pays for morning peak travel, which amounts to about 5% of the total cost. TfL also pays for the 60+ Oyster card, which is what you get until you're eligible for the full Freedom Pass.

The phrasing of these campaign claims makes it sound like there's a threat to the Freedom Pass. Even with cuts to local government funding, we've never heard of such a proposal. And even if there were, it's not the mayor's decision to make since — as we've seen — City Hall pays for a very small proportion of it.

So no more of this, please: