Tough times require fresh thinking on young people’s transport

Young people talking on a sofa - copyright British Youth Council
  • New report urges local transport authorities to work with young people to develop simple packages of measures

A new report published today by pteg - ‘Moving on: Working towards a better public transport offer for young people in tough times’ – aims to get local transport authorities thinking about how they can provide the best deal for young people on transport in a difficult economic climate.

It describes how the bus in particular is central to young people’s ability to access vital opportunities for education, training, work and leisure. Despite this, young people have been particularly hard hit by the financial challenges facing bus services, which have seen fare offers compromised and valued evening and weekend services cut back.

Whilst recognising that difficult decisions have to be made, the ‘Moving on’ report finds that there is still much that local transport authorities can do to support young people. With the aim of stimulating thinking and debate, it presents a range of ideas to improve the affordability, availability and acceptability of bus services, without breaking the bank.

In developing an offer for young people, the report urges local transport authorities to keep three key messages in mind:

  • The importance of actively engaging young people in the process – it is essential to develop an offer on public transport with, rather than ‘for’, young people.
  • The need for a package of measures – any offer needs to cover the four key features of socially inclusive public transport (availability, affordability, accessibility and acceptability) and recognise the differences and similarities in the needs of young people of different ages.
  • The need to maintain a focus on simplicity – straightforward fares, networks and information benefit all passengers.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said:

“Good bus services play an important role in providing practical and affordable transport for young people, whether they are going to work, training or leisure activities.

“Young people are not only a key section of the bus market, they are also the future of the local bus industry, so ensuring the right services are in place benefits bus operators in the long-term. That is why I am working with all those in the sector to make bus travel more attractive for young people.

“This report highlights some important issues and I would encourage those taking decisions on buses at a local level to look carefully at its recommendations, be they operators or local authorities.”

Dara Farrell, 19, Vice Chair of the British Youth Council and Chair of the Youth Select Committee on Public Transport said:

“As the Chair of the Youth Select Committee on public transport, I know only too well that transport is a major issue for young people. It’s crucial to their social mobility and career development - and that’s why BYC and the UK Youth Parliament have been campaigning for the past year to make it more safe, affordable and accessible for young people, after 65,000 young people told us how much it affects their lives.

“This report highlights some really key issues, and we hope that decision makers stand up and take notice. With record levels of youth unemployment we should be giving young people every opportunity to succeed, and a safe, affordable and accessible public transport system is central to this.”

A range of good practice examples from across the PTEs and other stakeholders are highlighted in the report including:

  • The Greater Manchester Young Persons Transport Panel, established by Transport for Greater Manchester and the North West Regional Youth Work Unit, which helps to design and evaluate the annual Youth Strategy Action Plan and was involved in developing the IGO Travel Pass for young people.
  • The Nexus Child All Day Ticket (CAT) which allows young people to make unlimited journeys across Tyne and Wear for a simple, flat daily fare. There has been a 15% increase in child patronage since the scheme was introduced.
  • Centro’s simple journey planning tool designed specifically to help young people navigate the West Midlands public transport network

Chair of pteg, Geoff Inskip said:

“We recognise that young people place great reliance on public transport to get around and our report comes just as the Youth Select Committee prepares to report on the findings of its inaugural inquiry into public transport. As PTEs, we want to provide the best possible deal for young people on public transport. This report shows that we can develop such an offer, even in the current restricted spending environment. We hope that the ideas presented in the ‘Moving on’ report will act as a catalyst for dialogue between young people and local transport authorities.”

Geoff Inskip continued:

“In developing the best deal we can for young people on public transport we are not only investing in their future by enabling them to access opportunity, we are also investing in the future market for public transport and nurturing a generation for whom sustainable transport habits become a way of life.”


For more information contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485

Notes to editors
1. ‘Moving on: Working towards a better public transport offer for young people in tough times’ is available to download below.