Hi, my name is Maria Nelson, I’m living in Newcastle Upon Tyne in a village on the outskirts.
I decided to create this travel pass petition because I’m an ESA claimant who was finding it difficult to access a travel pass for disability even though I’ve degenerative discs. The current council’s form only inquires if your limbs work? There is nothing to cover pain conditions. In the past, Dr’s wouldn’t support me saying my arms worked. But carrying shopping with Discogenic disease is no fun.
“Discogenic pain is pain originating from a damaged vertebral disc, particularly due to degenerative disc disease.”
After a burglary and due to a bad experience with a landlord, I relocated to this village in the hopes of a more peaceful and safer life.However, I realised it was costing me £7.50 for a day ticket to visit a friend only eight miles away. Whilst a basic day ticket to town was £4.50. A weekly pass covering my friends home was approximately £31.00 a week which was a quarter of my benefits. It is outrageous.
As an ESA claimant, I realised I was due to be transferred onto Universal Credit in July and would have no income for at least five weeks. If anything were to go wrong, I would need to access support and that support would be a twelve-mile round trip away. It made me wonder how many others might be affected and struggling with this same issue.
This could include people on low incomes, claimers of JSA, ESA, UC and those working part-time zero contract hours claiming UC.
I saw a lady in the village having to pay £8.00 for a taxi when the bus didn’t arrive. UC in its wisdom gives workers 37p to the pound but takes no account of the cost of travel. Workers are expected to cover the cost and travel up to ninety minutes to get to a job, which means working isn’t paying.
The conservatives have conveniently forgotten about the cost of travel to work.
The main issue is that councils and bus companies all have their own rules regarding who they will give support to and which bus companies (since deregulation) would help.
Many need more than one bus to travel to their destination and this increases the expense. The government closed a number of Job Centres, making it more difficult for people to attend appointments and therefore more expensive for claimants whom have no access to free travel but have to comply with the DWP’s nasty conditionality.
I’m seeking mental health support and have damaged my rotator cuff ironically getting on the bus with a trolley load of shopping. I also need physiotherapy. However, the local physio is on sick leave, which has meant I’ve waited thirteen weeks so far and still waiting for treatment. All of this costs more money and I have not qualified for PIP.
Since setting up this petition my GP became more supportive and sent a letter to the council explaining that my conditions were painful and the council has allowed me a disability pass.
However, this isn’t just about my health now. It’s about money and it is about allowing poor people to travel so they are not isolated. As I found I was attempting to leave the house only once a week doing everything in one day to save money, which was also stressful. Then spending the rest of the week being miserable and bored.
I’m interested in politics and sometimes help my party. A travel pass would allow me to take part in politics. To access community hobbies in relation to my mental health. I believe it would enable people to help each other and their families. If people can’t afford travel how can they visit sick relatives or help families when they need it. Why not enable the most vulnerable, instead of crippling us with cruel incomes which are well below the poverty line.
I really do think the Conservatives want to disable us working classes to stop us from helping each other. It’s in this principle that I believe that travel in the community should be a human right.
Financially ostracising the poor in the community from being helped or helping ourselves benefits no one.
So I’m asking people to please sign and share my petition to enable people to have a dignity of sorts.
Please remember to confirm your signature via email or it doesn’t get counted if you don’t receive an email, please check spam folders.
Thank you and if you have any difficulty signing please access my @rhymingmisfit account on twitter or my fb account Maria Nelson. And please retweet/share using in petition links and ask friends and family to share too.