Young people on Merseyside say their voice has been heard
Young people who have been campaigning tirelessly for affordable transport have told Merseytravel and bus operators that they feel they are being listened to following news that over 90% of buses in Merseyside are now providing cheaper child fares for all young people aged 18.
Merseytravel is trailblazing nationally by extending the age range of its special young persons’ bus ticket up to, check and including, case the age of 18, which started yesterday (19th July). It follows Merseytravel Committee members approving plans to take the MyTicket age eligibility from five to 15 to five to 18 at the committee meeting on 24th June.
Commercial operators Arriva and Stagecoach have also confirmed they are raising the age limit on its young people’s products up to and including the age of 18 and will reduce the cash fares for young people too from 19th July. Feedback from some of the smaller bus operators shows they are also planning to follow suit.
Merseyside will be the first area outside of London to extend cheaper travel to all those 18 and under, whether they are in education or work-based training.
To mark this milestone, Merseytravel and bus operators met with a group of young people who have been committed to working with Merseytravel to see what can be done to bring the cost of travel down.
Sixteen-year-old Ciara Brodie, who is studying at Calderstones School, said:
“The event was very positive and a lot of young people in the city will feel that they have been listened to – that our voices are valued. We face a lot of financial pressures and transport is one of those burdens. To know that MyTicket will go to 18 is brilliant, it means I can now get the bus as it works out so much cheaper for me as I continue with my education.
“Merseytravel takes the time to listen and consult with us, and it was lovely to bring in the bus operators to talk to us too. It’s really important that they continue to do this. It would be good now to see whether any cheaper fares could be introduced on the trains.”
Stefan Price, 16, is part of the Shout it Out Sefton group, who work with key decision-makers to ensure Sefton is a better place for young people. They have listed transport as their number on priority. He said:
“Coming to this event shows that Merseytravel is committed to bringing young people together with decision-makers to ensure we have a say on local services, which is really empowering.
“Transport is a top issue for us because it is a lifeline to everything, from education or work to hobbies and seeing our friends. Making transport cheaper was one of our biggest asks and it’s great to see this is happening.
“We now want to work really hard to change the attitudes of people who have misperceptions of young people causing a nuisance on public transport. We all get tarred with the same brush when this isn’t the case; most young people use public transport sensibly. Another big ask from us is that transport authorities use social media more to talk to young people and also use it to answer our questions.”
Other young people at the event said the following…
“I would be lost without MyTicket – I wouldn’t be able to afford to travel otherwise,” Caitlin Cavanagh.
“Raising the age to 18 will be brilliant for me as I’ve just enrolled at Liverpool Media Academy so will be able to get there cheaply,” Scott Dewhurst.
“This is a great initiative and if they could do something similar for the trains that would be even better,” Becky Wood.
“I used MyTicket loads until I turned 16. I’m made up I’ll be able to use it again as it’s so cheap and affordable,” Jayne Laura Hughes.
After the event, Merseytravel Chair Cllr Liam Robinson said:
“It was fantastic to listen to the views of young people and it’s something we want to do on a regular basis because they are the bus users of the future. It’s encouraging to hear that they are so positive about MyTicket and other initiatives run by the bus operators – my only message to them now is to use MyTicket and spread the word about it to their friends too.
“This isn’t the end of the road though – there’s a lot to do and while there’s no magic wand I want young people to know we’ll do all we can to help.”
From the 1st of September, MyTicket will also extend into the Halton Council area. For more information about MyTicket visit the website http://www.merseytravel.gov.uk/Tickets/Pages/My-Ticket.aspx