Last year, in a rare progressive move, the government gave sixty year olds and over the right to travel where they liked on off peak service buses. Some pensioners decided that this was a good idea and kept getting on bus services in order to have an ice cream at the seaside. After all, no seaside is more than 73 miles from anyone.
Now the government has gone into reverse gear and taken back what was given. Not since Thatcher the Milk Snatcher has government shown such a mean spirit. Up and down the land pensioners are coming together in protest and chanting:
Doff your hat!
The transport boss:
Now we're maroon
Doff a bus!
The government claims it was concerned at the number of pensioners who travelled too far and got lost in towns they did not know after the last bus had left that day.
However, the new restriction that pensioners must get off before 15 miles is up (they can then travel further but on a different bus up to 15 miles again), is likely to leave pensioners on the road side wandering around not knowing when the next bus is coming.
The AA, Ageing Anonymous, claims that many pensioners are now likely to keep their cars for longer, doing 40 mph on 60 mph roads and causing impatient boy racers to take risks with oncoming traffic. Clearly, stranded pensioners crossing the open road to go home again could also be put at considerable risk of injury. Given the importance of statistical appearances in government, one wonders if the Department of Transport had ever thought about the effect of its revised policy on its own performance targets.