First off, we had another very successful Freedom Ride meeting in Barnsley library. It was decided that a group of us will go through to Sheffield this Saturday to join a demonstration against austerity and threatened Tory cuts. The demonstration starts at 12 in Devonshire Green (at far end of West Street). Some of us are catching the 11.14 train to Sheffield from Barnsley so you can meet at Barnsley station if you want (do allow time for queues at ticket office). Some people are going by bus. Do take note: anyone thinking of using the tram – it is not running into Sheffield from Meadowhall or from Sheffield train station.

We will have our banners on the demo in Sheffield. It is not a very long march, it is going to the Town Hall. We will also have leaflets to give out about our June 23rd demonstration at Sheffield station.

The meeting agreed to carry on with the lobby of Barnsley Council on Thursday June 4th from 9.30am to 10.30am. A number of people have agreed to contact their councillors to ask them for a new start from a new council. If you want details of how to contact your councillors then send back a reply to this email. The lobby will also be joined by the campaign against the Bedroom Tax and other groups fighting cuts.

The meeting also agreed to support the demonstration in London on Saturday June 20th, the People’s Assembly March against Austerity. 11 people put down to go on the coach which will be leaving Barnsley at 7.30am. It is a chance to put the Freedom Ride campaign on the map in London. If you would like to go email or phone/text me on 07985 028003.

Finally, 3 of us met the Managing Director of Stagecoach, Paul Lynch, to ask about the idea of them introducing a £1 flat fare outside of the 9.30am to 11pm time. He gave a number of reasons for not wanting to do that based on how he gets money from the PTE. We suggested a way that he could approach them and Tony is going to send a letter from the Freedom Riders arguing that Stagecoach’s ideas should be considered by the PTE.

Then Paul said that Stagecoach have decided to bring in a scheme that will allow the elderly with early medical appointments to travel free before 9.30am if they show their letter or appointment card. A trial scheme will be run for 6 months in Barnsley starting on June 15th. He wants to see how this trial works in Barnsley but anticipates extending it to the rest of South Yorkshire.

A further meeting has been arranged for Thursday 27th August to discuss how the trial has gone.

This is a good benefit for a number of the elderly who have early medical appointments. It is a long way short of what we want to return to but it shows that all the time we keep campaigning we keep winning a bit more.