My manifesto aims to help young people reach their full potential by providing access to high quality, affordable public transport.
Firstly, and most importantly, current transport prices are unaffordable for many young people, and there is insufficient access to public transport routes and their benefits.
Public transport is a vital part of a prosperous economy, allowing citizens the opportunity to access all parts of their surrounding area. Restricting public transport to people with an income creates a barrier for young people, preventing them from taking advantage of opportunities around their region.
By excluding young people with little or no income from accessing public transport, we deny them opportunities to meet new people, visit museums, shopping and entertainment, volunteering and work experience, or simply attend school or college.
We can address this problem and create access to local amenities for all with a few simple solutions such as:
- Encourage competition between existing bus companies, including providing them with financial incentives (publicly funded) to enable young people to travel on existing bus routes at lower prices.
- Expand the number of bus routes so that more young people have easy access to public transport. In Leeds specifically, create two circle routes joining up existing stops.
- Start more school buses services and make them free to young people.
- Introducing a free city bike service (or free access for young people to existing schemes) that enables use of bus cards to access the service, with bikes and locks available around Leeds.
- Increasing investment in bike lanes, encouraging cycling by making cycling on the road safer.
- Extend the affordable bus travel model to local and regional train services, ideally using the same ticketing system as the buses (e.g. a single travel card similar to Oyster).
These solutions would allow young people to afford transport. In addition, it will reduce traffic as cars and taxis won’t be used as often, reducing pollution and congestion. It will also help improve public health (reducing stress on NHS services) through the reduction of pollution and by encouraging people to ride bikes. Another benefit to the local economy would be better access to shops and other services.
I would address this as a member of youth parliament by utilising all available resources and platforms made available to me within youth parliament, including making YP conference motions/speeches, emailing local MPs and councillors, distributing leaflets and supporting local organisations and campaigns.