Up to 12,000 teenagers will get much cheaper Metro travel from September thanks to changes designed to help those in vocational training and doing apprenticeships.
The Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, which sets fares on Metro, has backed a Nexus proposal to widen eligibility for the current 16-18 Metro Student Card.
The change means that anyone under the age of 18 will be able to buy half price season tickets, compared to the adult fare – cutting the cost of a four-week pass from £64 to £32.
Teenagers buying on line – where you can get a 10% discount on all four-weekly and annual Metro season tickets – will reduce the price further to £28.80.
Cllr David Wood, Chairman of the ITA, said: “We already provide half price Metro travel for 16 to 18 year olds at school or college and I am delighted this will be extended to everyone of that age from September, including those in vocational training.
“This means that young people can choose the right education or training for them at 16, without worrying about the cost of travel on Metro.”
The changes were recommended by Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, after it was approached by vocational training providers in the region.
Bernard Garner, Director General of Nexus, said: “We are very proud of our own apprentice programme, so we were quick to see the need to bring our fares policy up to date, and give everyone under 18 half price Metro travel.
“The cheaper fare on Metro will come in the same time as the leaving age for education rises. We now want to work with bus operators to extend the benefit to Network One passes, so it can apply to all public transport.”
The existing 16-18 Metro Student Card has already been reduced in price this year by the ITA to make it half the price of an adult four-week pass, with a further 10% online discount available.
The ITA already funds a concessionary fare scheme for children up to 16 years of age, by subsidising bus operators and Metro to provide a cheaper fare.
This means children travel for 50p single or £1 all day across all public transport in Tyne and Wear, a price unchanged since September 2008.