Mayor Dan Jarvis and local authority leaders will cut bus and tram travel costs for young people – extending concessionary fares to everyone age 21 and under across South Yorkshire for a year.
In a major boost to young people, it means a single bus fare will cost 80p, and forms parts of a comprehensive £23.45m support package to tackle unemployment and help the South Yorkshire’s young people recover from COVID.
In South Yorkshire, the claimant count for unemployment benefits is higher for 16-24 year-olds than the rate nationally. In Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, the youth claimant count is between 9% and 10%, some of the highest rates in the country.
These measures will support South Yorkshire leaders’ wider recovery and renewal plan, and the reduced fares will:
- Help young people get to work, and find jobs and training opportunities
- Support the recovery of our town and city centres, by encouraging young people to travel to leisure and hospitality venues when restrictions are relaxed
- Encourage more young people to use public transport – supporting bus operators who have been hit by a fall in passenger numbers
- Help to accelerate the region’s transition to net zero
The concession is due to start in June 2021, when social distancing measures are likely to be lifted in line with the Government’s COVID roadmap.
The discount will remain in place for a year. It marks an extension of the existing 11 – 18-year old concession, and young people will be eligible until the day before their 22nd birthday.
At a time when young people have been hit hard by unemployment as a result of the COVID pandemic, Mayor Dan Jarvis and the four South Yorkshire leaders are working hard to ensure that young people can still access the training they need to find good jobs.
More than £1.55 million of the devolved Adult Education Budget will be used to make sure young people have a second chance to achieve basic maths, literacy and digital skills and qualifications they may have missed during formal schooling, allowing them to progress into work or further learning.
A further £15.2 million will be invested in:
- Creating apprenticeships and training opportunities through the Renewal Action Plan
- Improving facilities at the region’s colleges and delivering employer-driven technical and digital skills, as well as providing opportunity to train in new and innovative construction techniques
- Extending the Skills Bank programme to ensure businesses are supported to train and develop their young workforce to progress their careers
- Growing the Careers and Enterprise Company hub to deliver high quality, relevant advice to inspire young people
Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “Our young people have been hit hard by the pandemic and these measures will play a significant role in ensuring no young person in South Yorkshire is left behind as our region recovers from the impact of Covid. By extending our bus and tram concessions to those aged 21 and under, we are giving young people a helping hand to enable them to access training and jobs, as well as enjoy our town and city centres once restrictions allow.
“I have always believed that where you grow up shouldn’t determine where you end up. And despite the Government turning its back on our young people by failing to keep promises on levelling up, I will make sure every young person in South Yorkshire has access to the jobs and training opportunities they need to succeed. We are backing our young people and investing in their future.”
Councillor Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council said: “In our recent council budget we set out how recovery from the COVID pandemic must be a priority for us over the coming months and how the council will create dozens of work opportunities for young people at risk of long term unemployment.
“In making this announcement today across South Yorkshire, we are stepping up that commitment. With cheaper travel and more work opportunities we are leading the country in making sure that people starting out on their working life get the support that they need at this really difficult time. It’s a good example of how our devolution deal can bring real practical benefits to Rotherham residents.”