Despite the fact that present users of the 60+ Oyster Card would not be affected (as would Freedom Pass members, as the Freedom Pass is a different concession), the eventual cut would be detrimental to future generations of older people. As is always the case with such cuts, those with the lowest incomes will be the ones who suffer the most. Those who provide care, those who are jobless, important personnel, volunteers, and others will be impacted by the changes.
The announcement comes less than a month after the Mayor stated that a similar reduction would not take place during his term in office. However, that is only “part of” accurate in that the Mayor is unlikely to be in office when the 60+ Oyster Card is completely phased out of existence. But the wheels will be in motion while he is in charge of the city’s administration. Because of the gradual increase in eligibility age, someone who is 57 today will have to wait until they are 63 in order to qualify (very approximate maths and it depends when the phase out begins). Getting older quotes further explain this idea.
Because of demands from the central government for Transport for London to make more savings, unpleasant decisions are being forced upon the organisation. Though I don’t believe the Mayor intended to make this choice, it has been presented as an offering to the Department of Transport amid the confusion surrounding the financial discussions (at the time of writing, the deadline for an agreement is only a few hours away) (along with other service cuts and plans to raise income).
Future generations of elder Londoners are being embroiled in this very politicised situation. I felt it would be beneficial to put down in writing why it is so critical to conserve the Oyster Card for those aged 60 and above while away from the crowds.
- Eliminating the 60+ Oyster would have had a significant impact on individuals with lesser earnings and job searchers.
Many study papers have documented the disproportionate economic burden of the epidemic on older Londoners, which has been documented in numerous studies. From the reports of older Londoners who have contacted Age UK London, it appears that the pre-dawn suspension is already increasing these negative consequences. Over 60 Oyster Card customers have shared their stories and explained why they fear more cuts (sadly they were right to do so).
According to Office of National Statistics data from August 2021, the number of adults over 50 claiming out-of-work benefits in London was 105,445, a 105 percent rise from March 2020. According to the same national data analysis, senior employees have been the worst impacted (together with those under the age of 24). This increase in unemployment for older employees in the capital is likewise significantly more than the national average. In London last year, there were more over-50 Jobseekers Allowance claims than under-25 claimants.
Additionally, there are significant rates of older adults reporting encounters with ageism throughout the recruiting process.
The FCA discovered last year that persons born between 1946 and 1964 are just as likely to have been made jobless during the epidemic as those aged 20 to 39. According to an IPSOS MORI study conducted for the Centre for Ageing Better, seven out of ten 50-70 year olds lack confidence in their ability to work again. Additionally, just 39% of individuals who are now furloughed (or of working age but unemployed) felt confidence in their future employment prospects.
Redundancy among older employees is delaying retirement preparations. Many elderly Londoners are unable to retire, a situation that will have gotten worse throughout the epidemic. According to the Centre for Ageing Better’s analysis, 8% of older employees in England are now intending to retire later. One issue affecting this is the depreciation of pensions.
Additionally, the over-50 age group already had a higher rate of unemployment before to the epidemic. In 2019, only a third of over-50s who were laid off found work within three months, the lowest proportion of any age group.
In the first year of the epidemic, one in every four workers aged 50 or older was furloughed, putting 377,000 people at danger of losing their employment. A quarter of a million over-50s may lose their jobs permanently as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, as job plans and recruiting are biassed in favour of younger individuals.
- A reduction would make life even more difficult for critical employees who have not yet reached the age of 60.
Health and social care are two areas having a disproportionate number of elderly workers. Since concessionary travel before 9 a.m. was eliminated, Age UK London has heard from holders of the 60+ Oyster Card and the Freedom Pass who are compelled to go to work by 9 a.m.
Retail and office administration (which includes receptionist employment) employ a disproportionate number of older workers, notably older women. Due to the opening hours and shift patterns, commuting will frequently be necessary in the early morning. Many older Londoners in this category assist partners with health concerns, and others have stated that they will have to abandon low-wage occupations due to the high expense of commuting.
Although employees in their early 60s get paid, many will work in low-wage positions or part-time. In their early 60s, one in four employees works part-time, and one in three part-time workers lives below the poverty line. The economic effect of the pandemic appears to have hit older Londoners first, with data analysis of a GLA poll from May 2020 indicating that older Londoners are more likely to believe they are worse off financially than younger Londoners were before to the coronavirus epidemic.
- The present early morning suspension is already having an effect on senior caregivers who must travel prior to 9 a.m. Eliminating the 60+ would exacerbate the problem.
In the United Kingdom, caregiver prevalence is greatest among persons in their 50s and early 60s. This age group is twice as likely as younger adults to be caregivers. The majority of caregivers are working-age older women. Many Londoners in their 60’s use public transport early in the morning to travel to older parents who they help to get out of bed, dress and have breakfast in the morning. One in every four carers lives below the poverty line, and the necessity to pay full tickets would disproportionately affect this group of London residents.
The epidemic has brought to light the critical role of caregivers and the difficulties they confront while juggling caring obligations with a career. According to Carers UK, one in every five adults aged 50-64 in the UK is a caregiver.
- A cut will make it more difficult for seniors to travel for medical appointments.
Numerous senior Londoners had their health appointments rescheduled during the first wave, and some are still being rescheduled during this third lockdown. People became agitated and impatient for appointments to be rescheduled as a result of the delays. These are still held on a regular basis around 9:30 a.m. or even earlier. Travels to hospitals or health centres in distant boroughs are frequently required, necessitating many visits, and many senior Londoners are now required to pay full fares for these journeys. “I’m required to go several hospitals for a variety of diseases,” one Londoner explained. This judgement has compelled me to apply for a Disabled Persons’ Freedom Pass, which appears to be a monumental waste of everyone’s time. My surgery will require me to go to the hospital by 7.30 a.m., and I will be unable to drive.”
- Travel might be prohibitively expensive, exacerbating social isolation and loneliness.
The isolation epidemic in London did not begin with COVID-19, and there is no vaccine against isolation or loneliness. Prior to the epidemic, research indicated that 198,000 older Londoners may go up to a month without seeing a friend.
Isolation is difficult, and it has been made more difficult by the epidemic. Numerous variables contribute to certain people being at a higher risk than others. Accessible transportation can provide critical possibilities for social engagement for the 44 percent of Londoners over the age of 75 who live alone. Even before to the epidemic, more than one-tenth of this age group stated that they never utilise public transportation and do not own a car. According to Age UK data, 64% of older adults are less confidence utilising public transportation now than they were before to the outbreak. Eliminating the 60+ would add another hurdle for those in their sixties.