Encouraging more young people to travel on the bus network is a key priority for the Welsh Government. That is why since September 2015 we have been funding a pilot scheme offering discounted bus travel to younger people, under the “MyTravelPass” brand.
I have always been clear in my commitment to encouraging young people to use our buses and, with a review showing that 91% of respondents used the bus or a coach to travel at least once a week for shopping, work, school or college, there is clearly an appetite in Wales for a scheme of this nature.
My intention is to launch a new Youth Travel Pass from 2018, which can support young people in their lives, study and in work. I will be establishing a wide-ranging consultation exercise to discuss with young people, including schools, colleges and bus companies a scheme that is attractive, can practically support them in their life, work and study and will encourage modal shift.
Of course, I recognize that this will take time to roll out and so in the meantime, I have reached agreement with local authorities and the bus industry that the existing discounted bus travel arrangements will continue to be available to 16, 17 and 18 year olds throughout Wales from 1 April 2017. Existing passholders will see no difference, and new applicants will continue to be able to apply for one-third discounts through online or postal applications.
I hope that the reassurance of existing arrangements in the short-term, while we design a different scheme over the coming months, will give every chance of encouraging more young people onto our buses in the long term.