Young people aged 16 to 18 years old from across the West Midlands will have free travel on buses at the weekend pledged Liam Byrne, Labour’s Candidate for the West Midlands today. 

He was joined by Labour’s Shadow Minister for Young People, Cat Smith, who was campaigning in the Mayoral elections on 6 May in a visit to Wolverhampton. 

The plans are part of Byrne’s manifesto to Support Our Youth to which over 10,000 people across the region have contributed. The plans include putting youth workers back in every neighbourhood, strengthening mental services doubling apprenticeship numbers, and creating a new programme called Tomorrow’s Engineers and Creatives to train local young people for the jobs of the future. 

Announcing the pledge in Wolverhampton, Byrne said:  

‘Our young people are extraordinary. But right now, the rug is being pulled form under their feet with huge cuts to youth services, collapsing apprenticeship numbers and sky-high youth unemployment. 

‘That’s why we will need to support our young people and open up horizons,’ said Byrne, ’Free travel for teenagers will help. Eventually, I’d love to see complete free travel for all young people across our region to meet friends, get to weekend jobs, go shopping and explore our region. But we can make a quick step in the right direction for 16 to 18-year olds at the weekend. 

'It’ll help develop the next generation of public transport users and our drive to reach net zero goal as we change how we travel.’  

The free weekend bus travel goes further than the current half price travel for 16 to 18 year olds and will be introduced at the earliest opportunity. It is a first step in a goal for free travel across the public transport network that covers trams, trains, buses and cycle hire. Byrne will consult with council leaders and council taxpayers on a long-term solution for reduced or free travel for young people. 

Byrne will also phase in an ‘Opportunity Pass’ for 16 to 18-year olds to bring young people together and widen horizons. It will enhance the current Swift travel card, which includes the youth travel concession, and then working with sports and cultural organisations to bring forward a range of discounts or free entry to places, spaces and events. 'It will help enrich the lives of young people and connect them to the culture and sports in our cities and towns, Byrne said.

ENDS

For further information:

Oliver Longworth - Press Officer for Liam Byrne - olongworth@gmail.com - 07468611694