I firmly believe that free travel should not only continue on buses in its present form but should also be extended to the railways (Letters, February 4 & 6).

There are not one but two elephants whose presence in the room is being fastidiously avoided by those advocating an overhaul of the current free bus and concessionary rail travel arrangements.

The first is that those advocating some form of means testing seem unable or unwilling to state at exactly what level of income a pensioner, or anyone else for that matter, merits the designation better or well-off.

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The second is that it is becoming more and more evident that nominally private rail and road transport companies simply cannot operate in their present form in the absence of massive amounts of public money being regularly thrown at them.

This being the case, I believe that they should be nationalised without delay.

Tom O'Neill,

26 Westcliff,