Council leader welcomes bus fare discount for apprentices

A new initiative giving young apprentices and trainees half price travel on buses and trams around the region has been welcomed by the leader of Dudley Council.

The deal has been given the green light by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Only those aged between 16 and 18 and in full-time education are eligible for half price travel at the moment. But this will now be extended to those on apprenticeships or traineeships who currently have to pay the full adult fare.

It is expected the move will see an extra 31,000 young people across the metropolitan borough benefit from the 50 per cent discount.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

“This is excellent news which I very much welcome.

“We need to be doing all we can to support young people who want to get that first foot on the job ladder and get into employment or training.

“Statistics suggest around a quarter of apprentices or trainees are dropping out before their course finishes. We believe the cost of public transport while struggling on a low wage learning the trade may well be contributing to that.

“Hopefully this will help, and when it goes live in a few weeks I would urge teenagers in Dudley to get signed up for it.”

The scheme will be implemented by the WMCA’s transport arm, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) which will pay bus and tram companies a subsidy to contribute towards the cost of the discount.

It is also hoped to have an agreement in place to extend the half price scheme to local train services by the time the scheme goes live in a few weeks’ time.

The deal, which will run on a trial basis for 12 months, underpins a pledge by Mayor for the West Midlands Andy Street to support young people in their efforts to gain employment and training.

The law requires all young people between 16 and 18 to either be in full time education or undertake an apprenticeship or a traineeship, so the half price travel deal will now apply to all 105,000 West Midlands youngsters in that age bracket, 74,000 of which are in full-time education.

To get the ticket discount apprentices and trainees will be asked to prove their date of birth and that they live in the metropolitan West Midlands. They will then be issued with a photo card that can be used to buy tickets from the child range which are half the price of adult tickets.

Full details of how young people can apply for the half price fares will be made available closer to when the scheme is launched.


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