Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency, has welcomed the government’s announcement that 16-17 year olds will be able to get half price rail travel from this September.
Since his election in 2015, Huw has campaigned for reduced travel prices for 16-17 year olds who are now required to stay in education and training until they reach 18. The new 16-17 railcard which goes on sale from 2 September means that young people will be able to get half price fares on peak and off-peak services.
Huw said “I am pleased that the new 16-17 railcard will be ready for the start of the new school and college term. It was completely unacceptable that 16-17 year olds, who have to stay in full-time education and training, were expected to pay adult fares after their 16th birthday. It placed a huge financial burden on families. That adult rail fares were applied to 16 year olds for so long was archaic and completely out of kilter with modern life and yet none of the rail companies were prepared lower their prices unilaterally. I lobbied for change, along with many of my Parliamentary colleagues, and I’m pleased that some months back, the government stepped in and required the rail industry to introduce a half price rail card for 16-17 year olds. I would like fares to be completely free for those under 18 years old but this is a positive first step.
I now want to see a similar national discount system for bus travel for under 19s. We currently have a myriad of discounted systems across the county and country which are at the behest of private bus operators. If we want our young people to have a good education then we need to ensure that their transport to school, college or training provider provides them with the ability to choose the right setting for them rather than what is affordable or accessible. This is especially important for my constituents who live in rural areas where bus transport is limited and expensive.”