Uniform approach to half fare tickets
West Yorkshire school pupils wearing their school uniform will no longer have to show a half fare bus pass from 1 January 2018 thanks to the Bus18 initiative.
Pupils from Wakefield’s St Thomas a Becket Catholic College, Leeds’ Carr Manor Community School and Kirklees’ Honley High School were all on hand to help Bus18 partners First West Yorkshire, Arriva, Transdev, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire (ABOWY) announce the good news.
Currently all young people in West Yorkshire have to show an Under 16 or 16-18 Photocard to the bus driver to qualify for half-fare travel. One of the changes young people have told Bus18 in feedback is that they wanted to see was automatic half-fare travel when they were in school uniform. They said the fact they are in uniform makes it clear they qualify for the concession. This will now happen from the start of 2018.
Launched in March 2017, Bus18 is a programme of pledges to improve bus travel in West Yorkshire, to be delivered by 2018, with the ultimate aim of encouraging more people to use the bus. One of Bus 18’s aims is to attract more young people to bus travel by listening to their views and the new school uniform rule is an example of that work.
Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “As one of the major bus operators in West Yorkshire, we’re pleased to support today’s announcement as we continue to work in partnership to deliver friendly, reliable and value for money bus services across the region. We want to invite more young people to travel on our bus services, but we know that having a travel pass checked has been a barrier in the past and we therefore hope that this new initiative will reassure more students to travel by bus.
“This news supports our continued aim to ensure that buses are accessible to everyone, which is why we’ve launched new initiatives such as allowing parents to purchase mTickets and transfer these onto their child’s mobile phone. We look forward to continuing to work with our Bus18 partners to improve bus travel, making catching the bus easier in the region and welcoming more young people on board.”
Jon Croxford, Area Managing Director for Arriva Yorkshire said: “We are delighted to announce this new initiative as part of the Bus18 partnership. Playing a vital role in transportation across the region, we are committed to making buses easier to use, as well as improving overall customer experience. We believe this new initiative will help support these commitments and make it even easier for school pupils when using our buses.”
Alex Hornby, CEO for Transdev Blazefield: “One of the key aims of Bus18 was to make buses easier to use for young people, and improving the relationship between bus operators and our customers. This new, common sense approach places more trust in young people and makes it easier for them to use the bus, with less barriers and less conflict. All of us at Transdev support it wholeheartedly and we look forward to introducing more initiatives to get more people on board as the Bus18 programme progresses into the New Year.”
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield said: “The Combined Authority has already extended its concessions scheme to make half-fare bus travel available to 16 to 18 year-olds to help them access training and apprenticeship opportunities.
“Now, thanks to this new Bus18 measure, I‘m pleased to see that bus travel is being made more convenient for young people travelling to school and on journeys after school and look forward to finding out more about the new young people’s money-saving Bus18 ‘go anywhere’ day ticket for young people, planned for 2018.”
Improvements to information displays are being rolled out across West Yorkshire 14,000 bus stops and shelters thanks to Bus18 and work is underway on a £1m programme of work to ease congestion at 28 bus hotspots across the county. A ‘no quibble’ free journey guarantee for any customer not happy with their bus journey, and a refund for a taxi journey home if the last bus that night fails to show within 20 minutes of the scheduled time have also been introduced as a result of Bus18.
In addition First West Yorkshire, Arriva and invested £23.5m in new, low-emission vehicles in 2017 in line with their Bus 18 pledge to reduce harmful emissions.
People can find out more about Bus18 at www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/bus18