A mother has told how her autistic son had his free bus pass taken away after the council said he no longer qualified for free rides.
Oliver Harta, 20, was relying on his Freedom Pass to get around London until his travel card, valid until 2026, was revoked.
He has been informed by Harrow Council that despite his disability he no longer qualifies for the pass which entitles him to free public transport.
Oliver’s irate parents Nik and Sheryl have slammed the decision, saying the council suddenly “moved the goalposts”.
The family explained that even after they provided evidence of his learning disabilities, they were told he was not eligible for the ticket.
The 20-year-old was shaken by the ruling and was “nervous” as he adjusted to his new routine on public transport.
Oliver, from Pinner, Harrow, also relies on another specialist coach service to take him to an internship also run by the community.
Now Sheryl has been told she must hand in a letter from the NHS outlining her son’s condition specifically.
But the mother called the request a “waste of time” and suggested medics had “much more important things to do”.
she said MyLondon: “My son is almost 21 and is studying mathematics and English at an entry level.
“He doesn’t have a high school diploma, he goes to a technical college. It’s obvious that his autism is affecting his social skills.
“I really don’t understand it and it’s quite upsetting for us.
“How can the council just move the goalposts and say ‘having autism isn’t enough’?”
Sheryl explained that Oliver was confused after she told him he might need to use his bank card when boarding the bus in the future.
She continued: “It caused quite a stir and confused him a bit as he’s not used to it.
How can the council just move the goalposts and say ‘having autism is not enough’?
“He kept asking ‘why?’ and to say, ‘I’ve never had to do that’.”
The mother was informed by the council that applications for the Freedom Pass are being processed by a private company.
However, she believes the firm is using an unfair one-size-fits-all approach when assessing an applicant’s eligibility.
Sheryl added, “I’ve submitted tons of information, including his education and health plan, but they don’t want to know.
“They say we need to have that special piece of paper and it could take up to a year to get it – it’s a waste of valuable time.
“This is absolute nonsense.”
Sheryl said Harrow Council was “hindering” her son’s progress rather than providing vital support to the family.
“It’s not easy having a child with learning disabilities and then we have to go through things like that,” she explained.
“Oliver can’t travel alone so we have to pay to go with him.
“Now they are asking us to pay extra. If you go to the cinema, they accept an attendant card so someone can go with them for free.
“I don’t know what’s different about Harrow Council.”
A spokesman for the council said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. Concessions are reviewed every three years to ensure the applicant continues to meet the criteria.
“According to national guidelines, we can only follow what the independent assessor sends us.
“Applicants have the right to appeal this decision.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18154880/autistic-son-free-bus-pass-council-taken-didnt-qualify/ My autistic son was stripped of a free bus pass after the council said he didn’t qualify