Free bus travel, funded by council tax, to be offered to 16-18s

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The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has pledged make “a huge difference” to the city-region’s bus network by offering free bus travel for 16-18-year olds. 

The new Opportunity Pass for 16-18 year olds is central to its ambition of wanting to see millions more journeys made, with lower fares and smarter, integrated ticketing.

The pass is being brought in to halt a decline in bus use by young people and stimulate an increase in patronage. It will provide free bus travel across the network for young people, as well as access to leisure and cultural facilities across the Greater Manchester at a free or reduced rate.

Mr Burnham says: “More than a quarter of young people aged between 16-18 use buses as their primary means of transport – but these numbers are declining more quickly than the rest of Greater Manchester’s bus users.

“We want to reverse this – the Opportunity Pass will encourage more young people than ever before to use the bus.

The plans form part of the Mayor’s budget proposals. He is responsible for setting the budget for the fire service and other mayoral functions, which local people contribute to through a part of their council tax bills called the mayoral “precept”.

It will mean an additional cost of £9 per year for Band D properties – and £7 for the Greater Manchester average Band B household, but Mr Burnham believes the contribution will make “a huge difference” by encouraging the next generation to use public transport.