Authority to reduce cost of travel for young people

Stock bus pictures. Halifax Bus Station.

Stock bus pictures. Halifax Bus Station.

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Proposals to make travel bus and train travel in West Yorkshire cheaper for young people were endorsed at today’s West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) Transport Committee meeting.

Under the plan, all 16 – 18 year olds who are in jobs, apprenticeships or part time training would qualify for lower-cost bus and train travel through an extension of the WYCA’s Concessionary Travel Scheme. Currently, the criteria for half – fare travel for young people is defined under the 1985 Transport Act.

Councillor James Lewis, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “We already provide half-price travel to 16 to 18 year olds who are in full time further education. Extending the scheme from September would improve all teenagers’ access to jobs or the apprenticeships and vocational training that will open up workplace opportunities to them.

“Our initial discussions with operators have been very positive and I am delighted my colleagues have backed the proposal to widen the eligibility criteria which will be a positive step forward to encouraging more people to travel by bus.”

Also at today’s meeting, members heard how a pilot project to increase and improve engagement with young people is progressing.

Among the proposals are the establishment of a Young People’s Panel made up of 100 13 to 25-year-olds that would meet regularly to provide feedback and advise how young people could be more involved with WYCA’s decision-making process.

Another suggestion is training people to act as ‘mystery shoppers’ to evaluate services and facilities provided by the Combined Authority.

“Providing the best deal for young people in terms of transport, training, job opportunities and access to facilities and services in is extremely important,” said Coun Lewis, “Actively engaging with those young people so that they can guide us will ensure we are meeting their needs effectively.”

Discussions will now commence with operators and be subject to approval by West Yorkshire Combined Authority at future meetings.