Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine students’ education

A film delivered to the Department for Education calls for more support for public transport. Buses should be a positive transport option now and in the future

By Alice Ridley of the Campaign for Better Transport

Today a group of young bus users will deliver a film to the Department for Education calling for more support for public transport. The film’s message is clear: young people want buses to be a positive transport option now and into the future.

Campaign for Better Transport brought together a coalition of organisations including Association of Colleges, British Youth Council, Kent Youth County Council, National Children’s Bureau, UK Youth Parliament and the University and College Union (UCU) to produce the film and speak up for young bus users.

The vast majority of sixth form students catch a bus to college, but services are facing deep cuts with networks retracting and fares set to rise above inflation. Some school and college buses have already been removed, and there is nothing to say that timetables will not change mid-school year.

While all the political parties promised to protect concessionary fares for older people, younger people’s concessions are non-statutory and therefore not protected. As council budgets are squeezed these are now being targeted, with some councils considering imposing annual fees of £600 per student or scrapping post-16 travel support all together. We still do not know what the EMA replacement scheme will look like, or if it will include specific support for transport.

Young people from low income families living in rural areas will be hardest hit as quieter bus services that currently rely on public subsidy are often the first to go. Similarly evening and weekend services are vulnerable, meaning that part time jobs to help students get by are more and more difficult to get to.

We are calling on the government to open its eyes to the combined impact of the decisions being made on education and transport funding, because cuts to young people’s bus provision could seriously obstruct access to training and education.

This project gives young people a voice, not only to spell out the negative impacts of cuts, but also to say loud and clear that young people want to see bus services getting better not worse. It’s about looking to the future, something that comes naturally to young people but is all too often missing in council meetings and in the halls of Westminster.

19 Responses to “Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine students’ education”

  1. Goldsmiths UCU

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine students education: //bit.ly/jRLgYM writes Alice Ridley of the Campa

  2. Emily Davis

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine students education: //bit.ly/jRLgYM writes Alice Ridley of the Campa

  3. Hitchin England

    RT @leftfootfwd: Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  4. Clive

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  5. lauriek

    RT @leftfootfwd: Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  6. Anthony Parker

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  7. Martin Johnston

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  8. Birmingham FOE

    RT @leftfootfwd: Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //bit.ly/jRLgYM by Alice Ridley

  9. Save our Buses

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  10. Jakov

    Aren’t many of these transport concessions only used by parents who send their children to a far away religious school rather than a closer comprehensive school? I’ve heard stories of a children paying vastly different for their bus passes only because their parents are a different religion.

    //www.secularism.org.uk/onlycatholicscanrideontheschoolb.html

  11. Selohesra

    Yet another project requesting ‘other peoples money’ is spent on it. Actually I think it is a worthy cause but that the campaigners should also identify what spending should be cut to compensate. Endlessly taxing the richest few % is not really an option and just encourages irresponsible spending.

  12. UKYP North East

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley //fb.me/t2gqGGuU

  13. CYWUnite

    Yet another hit for the jilted generation: How bus cuts undermine education: //t.co/jAEvF7U by Alice Ridley

  14. cim

    the campaigners should also identify what spending should be cut to compensate.

    You’re assuming that providing/subsidising bus services is a net negative financially. One of the major problems with government finances is that things with direct costs and indirect revenues are often up for cuts even if they’re actually profitable – because of the difficulty of quantifying indirect revenues.

    So, yes, subsidising the bus services will cost a certain amount. Not subsidising them also costs money:
    – if people can’t access training and education, and can’t get a job either (quite likely right now), then they’ll cost the government in benefits instead. There may well be long-term as well as short-term costs here.
    – if they get a lift in by car instead, that’s got much increased environmental costs, road maintenance costs, public health costs from road fumes, etc. over bus transport.
    – providing the buses for student transport generally also makes them available for other users too, if entire bus routes would otherwise disappear, so the benefits of lower car use could be even bigger
    – if students can’t get into college, that might mean redundancies in college staff too: more people claiming benefits rather than paying tax
    – and, of course, the drivers and support staff for the subsidised bus services get paid, and that pay gets taxed, so some of the money spent comes right back to the government almost immediately

    Working out how much the subsidies actually cost – and they might even be profitable – is a really difficult task. It seems rather unreasonable to expect campaigners to have sufficient economists on staff that they can do this calculation when it’s actually beyond the government’s practical capabilities to do it in-house.

  15. Ed's Talking Balls

    I think that what Selohesra was getting at was that there are a number of good causes which people are understandably protective of, but at the same time there is only a finite amount of money.

    If someone is in favour of X, he must be aware that, in the current climate, Y will have money taken away from it.

    Labour seems to want to have its cake and eat it too: oppose every cut, claim you wouldn’t have gone this far, this fast, and then refuse to tell others what you would have done. That’s disingenuous in my view.

  16. Selohesra

    Thanks ETB that was my point indeed

    🙂

    They seem to get very indignant on this site whenever one questions the existance of the magic money tree to solve all the world’s problems.

  17. Ed's Talking Balls

    Tell me about it.

    Now if only I could find that elusive tree. Must ask Ed Balls to tell me its whereabouts…

  18. mr. Sensible

    The DFE is in a complete state on EMA, like a lot else.

  19. cim

    ETB: Certainly I’d expect fuller costings and proposals from a major political party than I would from a narrow-issues campaign group, since the former is asking for responsibility to implement it, and the latter is only pointing out the benefits of doing so. (Nevertheless, if the subsidies are actually economically neutral or positive on the whole, there’s no need to find that money tree just yet)

    Jakov: There were quite a few complaints up in County Durham – which the Council rightly rejected – when it turned out that cutting student travel concessions to balance the budget included cutting religious student travel concessions. I don’t know about other local authorities, but certainly in Durham the religious student travel concessions were a relatively small part of the budget for transport subsidies.

Leave a Reply