A bus load of improvements for young people
Bus18 is on a mission to make bus travel more accessible for young people across the region. Over the last 18 months it has committed to deliver a ‘bus load’ of improvements to make catching the bus an affordable and attractive option for under 25-year olds.
With over 320,000 16 to 25-year olds living, studying and working in West Yorkshire, Bus18 believes keeping them moving can help play a role in underpinning economic growth, investment and job creation.
The Bus18 partnership is made up of the three major bus companies, First West Yorkshire, Arriva Yorkshire and Transdev Blazefield, as well as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Studies have shown the jobs young people get are more likely to be part-time and involve evening and weekend work to fit around study and training commitments. The partnership wants to do all it can to make sure young people can reach these opportunities.
Over 1.5million journeys are already being made each year by customers using a 19-25 MCard travel product – these tickets allow young people to travel on any bus, at any time across the region. The collaboration has also been the force behind the introduction of the MyDay ticket for under 19-year olds. The ticket was launched in July following consultation with youth groups from across the region, and it’s already seeing impressive take up. Over 150 under 19-year olds assisted with product development, branding and shaping the marketing strategy. The ticket lets young people travel all day, on any bus in West Yorkshire for just £2.60.
Just over 12 months ago the Bus18 team also introduced the MCard app, an android app which allows people to buy and then load their travel tickets directly on to their smart cards. This has proved extremely popular with both the 19-25 year old market and the under 19s too. Many parents are finding the app convenient as they can now load their children’s MCards with weekly and monthly tickets all from the comfort of home.
Ongoing consultation with young people also revealed other issues, one of these was the need to prove their age to access cheaper fares. Bus18 has now introduced ways to make it easier. From January, anyone wearing school uniform now automatically qualifies for half fare. There’s no longer a requirement to show a pass to qualify. In addition, Bus18 has committed to remove the need for under 16-year olds to apply for a photocard. This will come into play at the beginning of next year and make discounted bus travel more accessible.
Jon Croxford, area managing director for Arriva Yorkshire and Bus18 leader said: “We’re forging relationships with youth groups across West Yorkshire, listening to their concerns and understanding exactly what areas they consider to be the top priorities in transport. This is helping us shape the future of bus travel across our region. We’ve introduced a whole raft of improvements since Bus18’s inception and we’re in a really strong position to continue to make changes that truly matter to young people.”
The improvements and enhancements for young people are all part of Bus18’s key pledges which also include reducing emissions, making buses easier to use and improving the customer experience.
The Bus18 leaders explain it is all about ‘delivering a joined up and common sense approach’.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is also contributing to research into youth mobility and access to economic opportunities, which is being undertaken at the world leading Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds University.