London Mayor Boris Johnson was in Greenwich today to launch a new fares concession for war veterans entitling anyone in receipt of a pension under the War Pensions Scheme or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme to free travel in the capital.
Introduction of the scheme was a key manifesto promise for the Mayor and enables free travel on bus, tube, tram, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and river services. Agreement has also been reached with the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to allow veterans free travel on rail services within the capital.
Mr Johnson launched the new scheme wit a visit to Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious which is currently moored at Greenwich. Speaking at this morning’s event the Mayor said London was “humbled by the unsung sacrifices of our veterans and there cannot be a more apt time of year than the brink of Remembrance Sunday to remind them of the honour in which they are held.”
Richard Kiplin, a 32-year-old ex-Infantry soldier in the Irish Guards who served in Kosovo and Northern Ireland said the scheme had already made a difference to him, commenting: “since receiving my photo card I have used it to get to doctors appointments, to the hospital and keeping in touch with other veterans.”
Qualifying beneficiaries of the scheme will be invited to apply for a new Oyster photocard by the Ministry of Defence. The cards are valid for four years subject to the holder remaining eligible.
The concession has been welcomed by War Widow’s Association of Great Britain, Chairman Mrs Gill Grigg MBE described it as “a great tribute to be able to mark our recognition of their bravery with this scheme” and predicted it would “mean a lot to the daily lives of hundreds of veterans, war widows and dependants across the country. Particulary those under 60 who live and work in London and use the public transport network on a daily basis.”