Free Travel Pilot Proves a Success for the Regions’ Young People

The Free Travel Pilot, an innovative project aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable young people in Newcastle and Gateshead, has been hailed a success with thousands of free journeys already taken and the project set to expand across the entire North East region.

Launched in October 2022, the pilot offered free travel on buses and metros to over 200 care-experienced young people, young carers, and ESOL students. In the last six months alone, over 2300 journeys have been taken using the passes, providing young people in the city with the ability to meet friends and family, seek and continue employment, and support their mental health.

Thanks to funding from the Government to deliver the North East Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), the project will now be rolled out across the whole of North East England, including Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, and County Durham. The initiative will run for two years, ensuring that more young people across the region can benefit from reduced travel costs.

The positive impact of the scheme has been clear to see, with Stephen Creighton, one of the recipients of a free travel pass, saying that “being a recipient of the free travel pass has completely changed my life. It has allowed me to get to work without fear of not having enough money and it has allowed me to be able to go and spend time with friends once again, something I previously struggled to do and was having a negative effect on my mental health. I couldn’t be any more grateful to be able to benefit from this scheme.”

Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council, echoed these sentiments, saying, “it is fantastic to hear about the positive impact this new travel pilot has made to our young people, and I’m proud that the success of this project has led to more young people across the region benefitting from reduced travel costs. We are committed to supporting our young people to have the best possible future and our ongoing work with partners via the Evry plan will ensure this is possible.”

The Evry plan brings together over 100 partner organisations to make a positive difference to the lives of babies, children, and young people in Newcastle. It was informed by consultation with 1,800 people aged 25 and under and has generated exciting and transformative commitments from health, business, sports, culture, arts, charity, and education organisations.

The plan is just one example of how the council intends to deliver on its Anti-Poverty Strategy for the city, with more initiatives being rolled out, including an integrated holiday offer with thousands of activities on offer, a new £1 fare for single bus journeys, and the creation of hundreds of work experience opportunities and entry-level job opportunities for young people. The initiative also includes access to events for those who would otherwise miss out, including free tickets to the Theatre Royal, Magic Weekend, the Rugby League World Cup, Northern Stage, and Tyneside Cinema.


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