Child concessionary fares for public transport in Tyne and Wear are to rise by 10p from 1st September 2012 – the first change in price for four years.
The single fare will rise from 50p to 60p and the ‘CAT’ Child Allday Ticket will rise from £1 to £1.10.
Child Concessionary fares are provided by the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, which uses public money to subsidise travel for children 16 and make it cheaper than the normal ‘commercial’ child fares. It approved the change at a meeting today.
The cheaper fares are available to anyone with an Under-16 Pop card. Normal child single fares are 90p on Go North East, 80p on Stagecoach and on Metro (set by Nexus) 70p.
Nexus recommended the rise to the ITA in order to meet the rising cost of paying for the scheme through reimbursing operators for the difference between the concessionary and commercial fares, which went up earlier this year.
Bernard Garner, Director General of Nexus, said: “We understand the last thing families want to see is a rise in child fares. Unfortunately we have no choice but to raise fares for the first time in four years, though these are still good value for money.
“The child concession introduced by the ITA in 2008 has been extremely successful, turning round the decline in child journeys on public transport. The irony is, at current fare levels, it has become financially unsustainable.
“The price of the child concessionary fare is extremely sensitive to changes in operator commercial child products unless additional subsidy can be made available, which is impossible with the current pressure on public spending.”
Even after the change in fares Tyne and Wear will have lower child fares than most parts of England, as a result of the scheme.
Since the scheme was introduced in 2008, allowing children to travel every day at the cheaper fare, and introducing the CAT ticket for unlimited daytime travel, journeys by young people have risen by 15% from 9.3 million a year to 10.7 million a year – increasing overall costs to the Nexus budget which funds reimbursements on behalf of the ITA.
Concessionary fares can be claimed by passengers aged 16 or under who have an Under 16-Pop Card, available to Tyne and Wear residents only. People can apply through the Nexus website or at Nexus Travelshops.