Young people getting their GCSE results today have been guaranteed an extra bonus – half-price travel on trams, trains and buses.
The pilot scheme, which was launched by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street two years ago, has proved so popular that it is now being extended for a further 12 months.
All 16 to 18-year-olds who live in the metropolitan region, whether they are at school or college, in work, on a training course or an apprenticeship are eligible for the cut price travel – a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) initiative as part of its wider commitment to support young people.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street is pictured in the centre with apprentices Alyssia Samra and Matthew Astley, when half-price travel for all 16 to 18-year-olds was launched two years ago
In 2018/19, 58,500 young people – nearly 4,000 of whom were apprentices – took up the travel cards. This is an increase of nearly 20,000 on the total for 2017/18.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, pays bus, rail and tram companies a subsidy to contribute towards the cost of the discount.
Mayor Andy Street said: “GCSEs can be an extremely stressful time for students, so I hope everyone collecting their results today can celebrate tonight.
“One thing TfWM is doing to help students unwind and take the next step forward is subsidising travel costs. Whether they are off to college, starting an apprenticeship or a job, or staying at school, everyone aged between 16 and 18 is eligible to receive a 50 per cent discount on public transport.
“We know that many young people cannot afford to pay full price for their travel to college or work, and this scheme will give them a helping hand to kick-start their career.
“By making travel more affordable we are not only investing in the future of our young people, but also the future of our region.”
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio lead for transport, said: “It’s great to see the number of young people who have taken up the half-price travel deal has gone up by nearly 50 per cent.
“This scheme makes it easier for young people to get out and about to meet friends and family and pursue their goals in life, and helps to reduce some of the barriers for those who are completing an apprenticeship or traineeship.
“I would urge everyone who is eligible to make the most of this discount over the coming year.”
For the second time, TfWM has waived the original £10 fee for all 16-18 photocards. The fee was removed after some young people starting apprenticeships and college courses said the expense was a barrier for them. Another improvement introduced last year means students can apply directly online, with no need for a Unique Validation Code (UVC) from their college.
To get the ticket discount, young people will be asked to prove their date of birth and that they live in the metropolitan West Midlands. They will then be issued with a photocard that can be used to buy tickets from the child range, which are half the price of adult tickets.
For more details and to apply for a card, visit networkwm.com/16-18