The government has responded to a report issued by the Youth Select Committee on ‘Transport and Young People’. The report gave simple conclusions, that the government needed to “provide a clear lead to transport operators by defining when adult fares should be applicable” – this after findings that in certain areas young teenagers in full time education who needed public transport to get to school were made to pay full adult fares for their journeys. “There should be a national concessionary scheme to provide discounted bus travel to young people, similar to that already provided for rail and to the Transport Scotland concessionary scheme.” A fair point.
The government’s reply was unfortunately lackluster, as Dara Farrell, Chair of the Youth Select Committee, explained in his response -“I’d like to thank the government for responding to our report but we are disappointed that, whilst agreeing in principle to many of our recommendations and issues we raised, they have decided not to take direct action and have only committed to ensuring that LAs will be reminded of their responsibilities regarding transport and young people.”
The argument comes down to a market one, I’m sure its pretty obvious, the bus companies are not under the same franchise restraints as the rail companies and their prices are only regulated by their local markets, responsible capitalism be damned. That doesn’t mean this should be the case, to say they want young people to be in education or employment, maybe an apprenticeship, but then to deny some the ability to take these opportunities is innately unfair. One wonders what should be done to elicit a more proactive response.
BY: James Tennent