Cut-price travel for young people
By Jonathan BarnesYOUNG people will be given half-price travel on buses in a new scheme to encourage them to use public transport.Up to 95,000 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 19 will qualify for the Suffolk Youth Card to give them cheaper bus and, possibly, rail travel.
By Jonathan Barnes
YOUNG people will be given half-price travel on buses in a new scheme to encourage them to use public transport.
Up to 95,000 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 19 will qualify for the Suffolk Youth Card to give them cheaper bus and, possibly, rail travel.
The card will be free, regardless of whether or not they are in full-time education and will be valid for travel on any bus service in the county.
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Suffolk County Council, which announced the scheme yesterday, will also be talking to rail operators about extending it to train travel and is looking into the possibility of the card offering additional discounts with retailers and leisure operators.
It is hoped the scheme will boost the local economy by giving youngsters easier access to town shopping and leisure centres - and will also tackle social isolation by enabling young people to travel cheaply from rural areas to the county's main urban centres.
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The idea for the scheme came from a county council best value review in 2002, which suggested a concessionary card scheme could help to encourage better use of public transport and improve the quality of life for the county's young people.
A similar scheme is already successfully running in Derbyshire, but Suffolk's would go much further and be available to a wider age range.
Kevan Lim, the council's executive committee member for economic and social regeneration, said: “Young people have told us that the cost of bus travel puts them off using public transport.
“This scheme gives them cheaper travel and greater access to shops, facilities, activities and opportunities.
“We want to do something really positive for the young people of Suffolk and something that will also provide a big boost for the county's economy.
“Suffolk will be one of the few places in the country with such a comprehensive travel scheme for young people.”
The scheme will be discussed the council's executive committee on July 20 and the aim is to formally launch it in January 2005.