Rosie Cooper MP is calling on Conservative-controlled West Lancashire Borough Council to get round the table with Merseytravel for formal negotiations to provide the pensioners of West Lancashire with the option of free rail travel, like their neighbours in Southport, Liverpool and Wigan.
Rosie wrote to the Chief Executive of Merseytravel asking if there is any opportunity for West Lancashire Borough Council to become part of the Merseytravel scheme.
In his response to the MP, Neil Scales outlined that three options are available to the Borough Council:
• They can apply to become a full member of Merseytravel
• They can enter into a legal agreement with Merseytravel to purchase services
• They could reach a commercial agreement with the individual train operators.
Labour MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I continue to fight to get the pensioners of West Lancashire a fair deal on free travel. I am calling on the Conservative administration to get round the table with Merseytravel and formally discuss these options. To date, the Borough Council have shown a complete lack of interest in at least providing the option of free rail travel.
“Previously the Conservative Borough Council has said that a concessionary rail scheme would be too expensive. It is interesting that Merseytravel indicates that the Council has never entered into any formal negotiations. Therefore, until they do so, how can pensioners and residents be certain that the option of a concessionary rail scheme is too expensive?
“At the very least, West Lancashire Borough Council owe the pensioners of West Lancashire the respect of seriously exploring how to provide the option of free rail travel.”
Whilst the administration of the concessionary travel scheme is due to pass Lancashire County Council this does not prevent West Lancashire Borough Council from providing local concessionary travel options.
For over two years Rosie has been campaigning alongside local pensioners to get Conservative-run West Lancashire Borough Council to give pensioners a fair deal on free travel. Time and again the Council has rejected these calls, despite having wasted £650,000 on knocking down four homes for a development that will no longer go ahead.