Plan launched to offer free bus travel to under 30s

6th Feb 2019

Campaigners in the UK have launched a plan to introduce free bus travel for the under 30s, reducing the reliance on passenger cars and cutting down greenhouse gas emissions.

Friends of the Earth say its proposal to extend the bus pass scheme for older people to anyone under 30 will help tackle pollution, while reducing traffic, raise air quality and improve health.

The cost of the scheme, according to the campaigners, would be £3bn per year. The public transport system would have to be re-regulated for it to be viable.

Mike Childs, Head of Research at Friends of the Earth, said: "Free bus travel for the under 30s at first, before widening the scheme, would make for more liveable cities and cut damaging greenhouse gas emissions. It would cost around £3 billion a year but this is a fraction of the money spent on roads.

"Three times more journeys are by bus than train and they are the main means of transport for the car-less quarter of the population.

"What we are seeing instead is bus fares rising 75% over the last 15 years, and over 3,300 services reduced or removed since 2010 in England and Wales."

Several cities in Europe, including in France, which has 20, as well as Sweden and Italy, offer free bus travel. The US has more than 30.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: "As set out in our road to zero strategy, the Government's ambition is for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. We are investing £1.5 billion to make this happen.

"We also support bus travel through £250 million every year, as well as a further £1 billion for the free bus pass scheme, paving the way to a more sustainable future."

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