Committee rejects a call for free transport for pensioners

By by Adrian Darbyshire adrian.darbyshire@iomtoday.co.im Twitter:@iomAdrian in Transport

There is no compelling case to reverse the decision to scrap free travel for pensioners on the island’s vintage trains and trams, a Tynwald select committee has concluded.

The committee was set up to investigation a Tynwald Day petition from Manx Labour party members Carole Quine, Lynn Sirdefield and Richard Halsall.

They argued that state pensioners should be entitled to free travel on the heritage railways as they should be able to afford to take their grandchildren on days out on the trains.

Free travel on all bus, train and tram services in the island for residents over the age of 60 was scrapped in April 2015 as part of a cost-saving measure.

Instead, they had to pay half fare outside peak times, and full fare before 9am (and between 4pm and 5.30pm on weekdays on bus services).

But the committee concluded that train and tram travel in the Isle of Man should be considered a leisure activity and not an essential means of public transport.

Its report, to be laid before this week’s Tynwald sitting, states: ’We conclude that there is no compelling case to reverse the decision of March 2015. We would prefer to encourage more uptake of the concessionary travel pass.

’We conclude that offering free train and tram travel to pensioners is an ineffective means of addressing the wider problem of social welfare needs.’

The report describes the concessionary fares available to pensioners as ’reasonable’, and the Go Platinum Rail card in particular ’offers good value for money’.

It recommends that the Department of Infrastructure should consider offering an advance purchase discount on annual passes for the Isle of Man Steam Railway and Manx Electric Railway, but not for the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

The report accepts that while the Manx Electric Railway and the Steam Railway can be used to travel to Douglas, Ramsey, Castletown, and Port Erin for shopping and other daily activities, the Snaefell Mountain Railway cannot be considered anything but a ’journey of desire’.

And while the MER is an important means of transport for residents in Groudle Glen, given the limited bus service in that area, the railway network is limited to the north, south and east of the island, and so cannot facilitate any ’journeys of necessity’ for those living in the west.

’We do not consider it practicable to reinstate the Peel to Douglas railway line so as to facilitate such journeys, as suggested by the petitioners,’ the committee states.

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Fell · 153 days ago · Report

Compared with the £100 million of general revenue that will soon be needed every year to pay PS pensions this is a trivial cost. Unless big issues are dealt with small public services will continue to be eroded.

Conch · 153 days ago · Report

Hand to mouth @Spook? not here, there are pensioners who are more wealthy than working families driving new cars. While I agree those who are struggling need the assistance, there are many who have lived off the state for the whole of their lives and have everything handed on a plate, literally, cradle to grave, never working

Manx born (formerl CV) · 154 days ago · Report

Prepared to be entertained modern democracy. Predictive text has been disengaged. Now, about your utopian ideas and your green tram.

Modern Democracy · 154 days ago · Report

If only you could spell CV - & string a proper sentence together - life would be so much more entertaining

Manx born (formerl CV) · 154 days ago · Report

Once again modern democracy you come up with a utopian idea without one iota if readoning to support it. Very much like the Libvans you live do much

Tim Norton · 154 days ago · Report

"There is no compelling case to reverse the decision to scrap free travel for pensioners on the island’s vintage trains and trams, a Tynwald select committee has concluded." I would be interested to know what "compelling case" there was for scrapping free travel on the trains and trams for pensioners, in the first place? I don't believe that there is an economic argument - if anything, free transport would be cost-neutral to the government and of financial benefit to the local economy.

Conch · 154 days ago · Report

Working on the chain gang

Modern Democracy · 154 days ago · Report

We're going to build it, & we're going to may you pay CV

Manx born (formerl CV) · 154 days ago · Report

Oh yes, back to the news story. Out of date ideas by an out of date party

Manx born (formerl CV) · 154 days ago · Report

Really Conch? And who is going to pay for all this modern transport you think we should have? Modern Democracy? Please explain what you mean by a modern green team and how would it be laid for? More utopian dreams me thinks

Phil · 154 days ago · Report

It was his first comment not the second one Conch

Conch · 154 days ago · Report

why does @phil describe everyone else's opinions as a 'rant'? put downs. if you think that's a rang @phil you must have led a sheltered life, more like the poster has imagination something you seriously lack

Conch · 154 days ago · Report

never going to happen because the iom missed out on the Industrial Revolution - that's what the problem is, never modernised, isolation isn't conducive to taxpayers coming to live here

Modern Democracy · 154 days ago · Report

Perhaps the DOI Minister could ask God to make a Ramsey Douglas fast tram cheaper

pper · 154 days ago · Report

It would cost 150-200 million just to build a modern line from ramsey to douglas, Never going to happen.

Phil · 154 days ago · Report

SNF - If you insist on having another of your idiotic rants then stick to the facts. It is free during off peak times and half fare during. Still a great deal though. Agree that train/MER etc should be paid for

Sir Nigel Farage · 154 days ago · Report

@Modern Democracy the main argument is probably that it would cost several hundred million pounds to build. If you haven't already noticed the Island's finances are about to run out. We're coasting on fumes as it is!

ET · 154 days ago · Report

Labour values at their most penetrating. Totally bonkers. The veneer of care and consideration runs amok with great regularity when their politics are in full flow. Never has an ideology had such a large self-destruct button attached. And now the UK (and us if we're not careful) has Corbyn, Momentum & Unite vying for political control of the public fund. Horrendous prospect for Britian. Brexit pales into insignificance at the prospect.

Modern Democracy · 154 days ago · Report

Yes, what is the argument against a modern green tram system running on the electric railway network?

hoodlum · 154 days ago · Report

Although a pensioner I agree the vintage transport network is a leisure activity. That does however beg the question why are taxpayers funding it ?

Sir Nigel Farage · 154 days ago · Report

Was this an actual joke on behalf of the Manx Labour Party? We all know how well they performed in the general election. ZERO MHKs. What a waste of Committee time this was. We already provide pensioners with free bus passes for them to get about and now they demand more? There are a lot of working people who can't even afford a day out on the choo choo train!

Conch · 154 days ago · Report

Half fare for them is enough of a concession. On the subject of concessions the island doesn't offer concessions at libraries for unemployed persons as in the UK and took away travel permits for the unemployed when travelling to job interviews. The island doesn't have good transport links, we should have modern trams that can transport workers to the capital, the airport, etc not steam trains.

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