Apprentices and trainees aged 18 or under now get half price travel on the region’s bus and tram network as part of an initiative to help them stay on the career ladder.
The deal, which was launched earlier this month by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), sees 31,000 young people across the metropolitan area enjoy the 50 per cent discount.
Only those aged between 16 and 18 and in full-time education had been eligible for half price travel. This extension includes those on apprenticeships or traineeships who previously had to pay the full adult fare.
The scheme has been implemented by the WMCA’s transport arm, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and will run on a trial basis for 12 months.
The Mayor said: “Young apprentices and trainees are often some of the lowest paid employees so being charged the full fare to travel can take a huge chunk out of their wages.
“It may also be a contributing factor in why some drop out before completing their apprenticeships and that is a shame.
“We hope this scheme will make it easier to them to continue on their chosen career path.”
The law requires all young people between 16 and 18 to either be in full time education or undertake an apprenticeship or a traineeship, so the half price travel deal will now applies to all 105,000 West Midlands youngsters in that age bracket, 74,000 of which are in full-time education.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, WMCA lead on transport and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council said: “Our transport arm – TfWM - has been working hard with bus, tram and train operators to make this happen and it’s great news for young people. We hope they will now take full advantage of this scheme over the coming year.”
Cllr George Duggins, WMCA lead for skills and productivity and leader of Coventry City Council, added: “Young apprentices and trainees often receive only the minimum wage of £3.50 an hour and around a quarter of them fail to complete their schemes.
“We hope giving them half price travel will reduce some of the barriers to completing an apprenticeship or traineeship and also make it easier for them to simply get out and about to meet friends and family and pursue their goals in life.”
To get the ticket discount apprentices and trainees are asked to prove their date of birth and that they live in the metropolitan West Midlands. They will then be issued with a photo card that can be used to buy tickets from the child range which are half the price of adult tickets.
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Alyssia Samra, aged 16, from Harborne, Birmingham, has just finished her GCSEs and is an apprentice in transport planning.
Matthew Astley, aged 17, from Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, is doing an apprenticeship in project management.
Both are based at HS2’s Snowhill offices in Birmingham.
Published 26th October 2017