Stagecoach joins campaign for free bus travel for young care leavers

Barnardo's Plymouth Care Journeys in front of Stagecoach bus 2

Stagecoach has joined a campaign urging government to extend the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme to young people leaving foster care or children’s homes.

The campaign is headed by children’s charity Barnardo’s, which says children growing up in care are “three times less likely to be in education, employment, or training than other young people their age” and struggle to find access to public transport.

“Access to transport for these young people is often unaffordable,” the charity says. “Single young people under 25 years old are only eligible for the Under 25 Universal Credit rates and, with the average cost of a weekly bus ticket over £18, this uses up a third of their weekly benefit payment in just one week.”

It says the scheme would help young people leaving care access jobs and support more easily, and combat loneliness and isolation.

Barnardo’s CEO Lynn Perry MBE says: “When you are seeking to find your way in life, it can be really frustrating to have your horizons and independence limited by a lack of mobility.

“Without affordable travel, these young people often struggle to access work, education, healthcare, or any of the freedoms we all enjoy from a change of scene. That’s why we are calling on the government to support and fund free bus travel for care leavers up to the age of 25. By doing so, we can help make sure care leavers have the best possible chance to build a brighter and positive future.”

Adds Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach: “We’re pleased to be joining Barnardo’s in this important campaign.

“At Stagecoach, we are committed to making public transport accessible and affordable for everyone. We already have some of the lowest average weekly bus fares across the UK, and our industry leading national jobseekers discounted travel initiative is helping jobseekers back on board and into work.

“Government can help build further on this by expanding concessionary travel to those other groups most in need, such as care leavers, supporting the drive to level up our communities.”