Labour is announcing a new policy to fund free bus travel for under 25 year olds across the country.
The move could benefit up to 13 million young people, help them save up to £1,000 a year and will be paid for using money ring-fenced from Vehicle Excise Duty.
The next Labour government will provide funds for free travel for under 25s to local authorities who introduce bus franchising or move to public ownership of their local bus services. This will support and incentivise local authorities to create municipally owned bus companies, run for passengers not profit, which research has found could achieve annual savings of £276 million per year.
Greater use of public transport reduces congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. Free bus travel for under 25s will help generate lifelong increases in public transport use.
Launching the policy at a visit to a sixth form in Derby on Thursday, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party said:
“Young people deserve a break. Nearly eight years of Tory austerity have hit their incomes, their chance to buy a house and their career opportunities. Labour wants to help young people make the most out of life by investing in them, which is why today we are pledging the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under 25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to visit friends.
“Our policy provides help where it is most needed. On average, children, young people and households with children each have less disposable income than working age households without children. Young people also tend to be in lower paid, more insecure work, and they spend a higher proportion of their income on travel. Giving them free bus travel will make a huge difference to their lives.”
Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“Buses are vital for easing road congestion and air pollution, but for too long, private bus companies have run our services for profit not people. The public purse already pays 42% of the costs of providing local bus services, but deregulated private companies choose to run only the profitable services and leave councils to plug the gaps left for non-profitable but vital routes.
” That’s why we’ll encourage local authorities to take back control of their buses so they can provide a better and more sustainable service to young and old alike, wherever they live.”