Medway Youth Pass now covers young people up to the age of 18

Welcome news indeed that this week the new extended half price bus fare has been launched. The Medway Youth Pass is for students up to the age of 18 who can now travel on the buses in Medway for half price any day of the week, including weekends.

It is often pointed out that there are lots of clubs, societies and events happening in Medway, but young people find it difficult to get to those events. This will make it more affordable for young people who rely on public transport. Being able to travel around the towns was an important point raised by young people when I sat on the Youth Task Group.

In February last year the Conservative Group earmarked an additional £250,000 in its transport budget for this financial year to improve the existing scheme. We also made it one of our election pledges to move towards a Freedom Pass for young people in a sustainable and affordable way. In comparison, many local authorities across the country are reducing or ending their concessionary travel because of the squeeze on public finance.

Given this, you probably would have thought that the other political groups on the Council would have supported it. In a rare show of support the Liberals did do so, but Labour voted against it at the budget meeting.

When we announced the details of the new scheme Labour had the audacity to say: “We are pleased the Tories have lifted the idea of subsidised transport directly from our local election manifesto and that we are leading on ideas for the future of Medway.” (Medway News, 16 October 2011).

 Given the Conservative manifesto was launched on 29th March and Labour’s came out on 1st May, only a few days before the election, I can’t see how this can be the case. Perhaps the Labour Group could explain this one in the comments below?

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