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Bus pass

How sad is it that my greatest achievement to date may be to have reached the grand old age of 60 and thus qualified for a local bus pass? 

Not sad at all! That’s pretty lucky, I’d say.

I qualify this by saying that I am writing on the day BEFORE my actual birthday and there is therefore a chance I will not reach 60 at all, but I already have the bus pass in my grubby little mitts. Indeed I have already used it for two trips up to London. You can apply two weeks in advance of the birthday, and in my case the processing was quick and the card arrived when I was only 59 years, 11 months and 358 days old with the instructions to ‘start using immediately’. I am very obedient, and did just that.

I should explain that this ‘local bus pass’ is, in fact, a Transport for London 60+ Oyster card which entitles the holder to free travel on all buses, tubes and most overground rail services within the London boroughs. Aside from the fact that on the account holder’s page on the TfL website it refers to the holder as being ‘Elderly’ (somewhat difficult to swallow without my zimmer frame), this is an absolutely wonderful birthday present for me. It will significantly reduce the cost of my swanning around the capital to go to the theatre or for friends’ or family restaurant meals. 

I do have a pang of guilt that I could, in fact, afford to pay for my travel and on that basis perhaps I should not have applied for this card at all. But – I counter – it is only fair, after all the council tax, income tax and previous season ticket fees I have paid over the past 38 years of living in London. And, as we emerge from the pandemic (hopefully), I can graciously bestow my eager presence (and quids) on more theatres and restaurants who badly need my business.

The biggest downside I can now see is that the pass has taken away the financial incentive to alight from the stop before my destination and walk the last bit. Always a skinflint, the extra exercise I have taken in order to save a few pennies has helped my step-count on many days when my ‘health’ will-power might otherwise have wavered. Well, perhaps my enslavement to the mighty Fitbit will still win out – let’s hope so.


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