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Disabled pensioner hopes for tram pass solution

Disabled pensioner Michael Haigh, of Fleetwood, is hoping free tram travel for Wyre pensioners can be restored.

Disabled pensioner Michael Haigh, of Fleetwood, is hoping free tram travel for Wyre pensioners can be restored.

A disabled Fleetwood man says the halt called to free tram travel for Wyre pensioners is having a major effect on people’s lives.

Michael Haigh, 67, of Radcliffe Road, needs regular trips to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and says the tram has always been a vital means of getting to appointments.

Until last month, he was able to travel on it free.

However, he is now having to fork out £4.60 on return fares, per trip, after Blackpool Council decided last month to axe concessionary travel for all pensioners who do not live in Blackpool.

Mr Haigh, who has a number of health issues including a chronic kidney disorder, said: “I can only walk a very short distance unaided.

“There is the number one bus which takes a similar route to the tram, and I can still travel on it free.

“But the nearest stop is about a quarter of a mile from my house and there is no way I can walk it.

“The tram stop is right outside my house, so it is perfect.

“When I go to Blackpool Vic, I catch the tram to the Coral Island amusements, then catch the number five bus to the hospital. I also go on the tram to collect my prescriptions from Asda.

“Now, every trip I make, I have to pay. I know it doesn’t seem a lot of money to some people, but for someone like me it all adds up.

I just wish all these councils would stop arguing among themselves and sort something out. If it is affecting me, it will be having an impact on plenty of other people too.

“Let’s face it, the new trams came in for disabled people in the first place.”

There are already two petitions trying to get the situation sorted out.

In one petition, Fleetwood residents, led by Angela Patchett, have called on Blackpool Council to change its mind about scrapping the concession.

And a fresh petition has been set up by Labour Parliamentary hopeful, Sam Rushworth, calling on Tory-run Wyre Council to pay its way and help fund a solution to the issue, which has caused a row between the 
councils.

 
 
 

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