Photo Credit: Photo credit: Тамара Левченко
UK's Young People Launch Petition To Save Discounted Bus Fare Rates
Young people in a UK city have started a petition to save discounted bus fare rates. The petition follows a decision by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority to discontinue Zoom Beyond cards after Nov. 1. The cards allowed those under 21 to ride public transportation at a discounted rate.
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard told the BBC he is disappointed by the decision to raise the bus fare fees. However, he ensures locals the decision is the result of budget cuts.
“It’s a dreadful position for us to be in but, make no mistake, this is because of government funding cuts,” Mayor Coppard said.
While children will still ride for a lower rate, those between 18 and 21 will not receive the discounted rates. The discounted card was introduced in 2021, after Jude Daniel Smith and his friends campaigned for it. Smith told the BBC he is “gutted” by the decision and believes it will make transportation less accessible for young adults.
No More Discounts
Under the new rules, the 35,000 young people who signed up for the Zoom Beyond card will have to pay 2.50 euros for each bus ride. This is an increase from 2 euros before the change. The child rider rate also will increase from 80 pounds to 1 euro, according to the BBC.
Local officials cite saving the city’s bus routes as the main reason for the fare increase. However, Mayor Coppard said South Yorkshire isn’t receiving the same funding to support its public transportation system.
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he said. “I’ve written to the Transport Secretary seeking an urgent meeting to ask him to intervene and give South Yorkshire the funding we desperately need.”
Smith told BBC Radio Sheffield that thousands of young adults depended on the card for regional commutes.
“Imagine if the cost of driving went up three times overnight, that is what we need to remember,” Smith said. “We are in a cost of living crisis already.”
Mayor Coppard is sympathetic to the plight of South Yorkshire youth. He said he hopes the city can receive the proper funding, similar to what neighboring UK cities have received.
“We are asking for fairness when it comes to funding, fairness when it comes to investment in our public transport system,” he said. “We are asking for the same level of investment coming into South Yorkshire as they are getting in places such as Birmingham and Manchester.”
A spokesperson for the UK Department for Transportation told the BBC that South Yorkshire received half a billion pounds over five years to fund their public transportation system.