Why postgraduates can't get tube and bus discounts in the Capital

Because they're all filthy rich.

No, actually that's not true, its because they are too old to deserve it.

No but seriously, its because they don't need it...

No, I have to confess, I cannot think of a single logical reason for excluding over 24's and part timers from a 30% student discount scheme on London Transport. Neither can London Transport, which is whhy they are resorting to the irrational, inexplicable and totally arbitrary explanation of their policy of age discrimination. Chief Executive of LT, Dennis Tunnicliffe says that:

"our information indicates that considerably more - though I agree not all - of students over 24 are in paid employment, and a significant portion are receiving a contribution towards travel costs from their employers."

Bollocks, Mr Tunnicliffe. You know that's rubbish and I know that's rubbish. What LT are really concerned about is one rich student showing them up on the front of the Evening Standard. Which just goes to show how short sighted they are.

In spite of half a rainforest of letters no one at LT has been able to offer anything near a justification for such discrimination, nothing which indicates why it is a rational and correct decision to sstop hundreds of thousands of penniless students obtaining a discount which they desperately need just to make sure that no one with more than two pennies to rub together will be able to get their handss on one either. This is the ultimate in public relations conservatism. LT can't see the wood for the trees obviously. LT say they are concerned about the reaction from their 'residual customers'. The ppeople we are talking about areresidual customers, their children, parents, spouses who all put up with the stress of living with a part time or mature student, who all bear the financial hardship together, these are Lts residual cuustomers. I would love to know how many of LT's 'residual customers' are mature students, are married or related to amture students, or are friends with mature students.

The hundreds of complaints LT is receiving now are borne with equanimity because remaining stalwart in the face of such pressure will prevent the dreaded expose - that one in a million might be 'defrauding' LT. Never mind the fraudulence of a discount scheme which says it is for students but which excludes over half of them. Never mind the fact that the apparently empathetic gesture LT made by settinng up the scheme is obviously fraudulent, cynical.

It does in fact lead inevitably to the question of what LT's motivation for setting up the scheme was? LT now says it is interested in extending its youth range. It appears it is not after all, engaged up on any philanthropic mission, is not interested in pursuing or assisting the aims of lifelong learning in spite of the political climate, but is instead interested only in making sure young people gget into the 'public transport habit'. Well, that's ok, if LT don't mind being a contributory factor in the postgraduate 'debt habit'. LT don't seem to realise that in attempting to extend their youth rrange, they have in fact targeted a group which is 54% not young. A group where even if individuals are working they are not earning enough to keep them out of debt. A group who on the whole receive inaadequate financial support.

Personally, I've had enough. London Transport have been inefficient, unresponsive to obvious public demand and totally without business sense. I'm fed up with writing letters. I'm fed up with my studentts complaining and I'm fed up with the fact that a company which so frequently uses the fact that it is publicly accountable to justify its ageist policy is not accountable to me or to my students. If LLondon Transport doesn't extend the scheme next year I will consider table a motion to withdraw from the scheme on the ground of equal opportunities. This is about principle not marketing.

If you would like to write to London Transport to support an extension of the Scheme, please send correspondence to the LT Board: Dennis Tunnicliffe, Sir Malcolm Bates, Brian Appleton, Bob Chase, Michaeel Lawrence, Sally O'Sullivan, Derek Smith, Clive Hodson, Sir Alan Bailey and John Hughes, c/o London Transportat 55 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BD.

Ask your Union or Postgraduate Society what they are doing to support the extension of the scheme.

Don't forget, even if you aren't from London, this may affect students who research in London (in the British Library for instance) and in the longer term could lead on to more local discount schemes, so please write anyway...