Ben Lowry passionately takes up the cudgels (November 26) on behalf of the younger and not so younger generations (I think he’s using the former as a sort of shield for the latter) against Old folk’s travel passes.
Ben, a little unfairly in my opinion, treats the travel pass as a zero-sum game between the generations, which, incidentally, can cover, I understand, more than older people; for example, say, disabled folk and people, who for a number of good reasons, say, unable, due to severe disability, to work and relatives visiting people in hospitals or prison etc.
I think, therefore, that his analysis is too simplistic.
Nor does Ben appear to take into account that the travel pass has a number of objectives; objective one, yes, is to provide a benefit to the vulnerable, including older folk.
I am open to discussion as to what constitutes the latter. In general I would agree with Ben that sixty years is not old, but could be in certain cases; for instance, in the case of people doing very difficult, punishing or physically and mentally stressful work – such as mining, or driving buses and trains or even policing and prison officers etc.
However, another objective is to provide an indirect, or hidden subsidy, to public transport providers to help them to keep fares down (benefitting people like Ben) and also, on environmental grounds to encourage greater use of public transport.
If there were no travel passes (I am assuming that the exchequer pays the difference) then, public transport providers would have to increase their fares accordingly, or reduce services, in the absence of a direct substitute subsidy.
Micheal O’Cathail, Fermanagh