A new scheme, intended to enrich the lives of 16-18-year olds, will operate in the Greater Manchester area from September.
The two-year pilot scheme, known as the Our Pass travel card, was launched by Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester.
Mr Burnham sees the scheme as a significant opportunity for the youth of Manchester: “Our Pass is designed to show everyone growing up here we believe in them and these opportunities will give young people the chance to explore this amazing place we live in and to build for the future.’
The pilot scheme was developed following a survey of over 600 teenagers.
“Its £15m annual running costs will be fuelled by a council tax increase of £7 per household and an administration fee of £10 per application.
“The pass will enable teenagers to access employment, sports, music, culture and leisure activities across the Greater Manchester area.”
Fifty organisations, including JD Sports, have joined the scheme and are offering a wide range of free passes and reductions.
Holders of the pass also benefit from half-price off-peak, one-day and weekend travel cards on Metrolink. It is perhaps not surprising that thousands of teenagers have already signed up to the scheme.
Prior to the introduction of this scheme, bus use has seen a dramatic decline in the Greater Manchester area.
There were 32.1 million annual fewer bus journeys taken in the last ten years, whilst in London, bus journeys have doubled during the same period.
Currently, only 26% of the city’s 16-18 population use buses as their primary means of transport.
For many young people, learning to drive and owning a car is of course an aspiration thanks to the freedom it affords. However, the cost of learning to drive and running a car means many young people need to be careful with their money.
According to comparethemarket, it’s estimated young drivers spend nearly £2,292 a year keeping their cars on the road, so schemes like Our Pass will ensure freedom to travel in the city is not compromised for those saving to drive.
The previously high cost of public transport in Greater Manchester was a serious disincentive for young people to pursue further study or seek employment outside of their local area.
The Our Pass travel scheme will not only open up study and employment opportunities for young people, it will also give them the opportunity to broaden their cultural horizons and enjoy the full range of experiences which Greater Manchester has to offer.