I’ve heard it a couple of times now from people at Myaware meetings – if you have myasthenia, you can get free Transport for London travel, called the Freedom Card. I’m torn by the prospect.
After rent, travel is the second biggest expense in London and there have been many times that I’ve considered cycling or running to work just to save the £120+ a month. When I first moved down and was completely skint, I would regularly wait at the travel card machine panicking that my bank card would decline (it did several times but not always thankfully). Now, I’m in a better financial position but I’m trying to save and travel costs are the first thing that I’d cut if I could.
The freedom pass disability eligibility is the following:
- Blind, or partially-sighted, or
- Profoundly or severely deaf, or
- Without speech, or
- Have a disability, or have suffered an injury which makes walking more difficult
- Have no arms, or have a long-term loss of the use of both arms
- Have a learning disability
- Have been refused a licence on the grounds of your disability
That clearly covers a lot of people with myasthenia – particularly the bit about walking being difficult.
The prospect of getting a free travel card because of my MG is an easy solution, right? Wrong. Mainly because I’m not sure I deserve it. There are days that walking is hard or my double vision makes travelling difficult, but there are other days where I am well enough to run into work.
I can understand why people that are unable to work because of their MG should be entitled to it and I can see the case for people with mobility issues, but personally I think I would feel guilty taking it.
I work full time, earn more than the average wage (although I doubt more than the average London wage) and am able to get around ymost of the time (when I’m struggling, the last place I want to be is the underground…if only there was a free taxi pass).
Before anyone jumps on the defensive, this is not meant to be a reflection on anyone else. I think it’s absolutely right that this is an option for people with myasthenia, I just struggle to see how I deserve it at present. As TFL is a publicly funded body, I would feel guilty and worry that I was depriving others who need the support.