AN online petition has been launched to oppose plans to increase young people’s bus fares by 70 per cent.
Launched by Labour’s Andrew Pakes, the petition backs a campaign by the city’s Youth Parliament to fight the proposed increases.
Mr Pakes, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, said the plans would create ‘nother barrier in the way of young people wanting to do the right thing’.
An introduction to the petition reads: ‘Tory-run Milton Keynes Council is planning to increase bus fares for young people by 70 per cent meaning a weekly increase from £5 to £8.50 or monthy rise from £17.50 to £30.
‘That might not sound like much, but many young people rely on public transport. Pricing young people off the buses will make it difficult for many to get to college, visit friends or travel to work. Please join in and have your say for a fare deal on the buses’.
Prices for single, 10 journey, weekly and monthly tickets could all potentially be increased by 70 per cent or more when the council’s annual budget is put forward later this year.
This will see single trips increase from 35p to 60p, a 10-journey ticket rise from £3.50 to £6, a weekly ticket change from £5 to £8.50 and a monthly fare increase from £17.50 to £30.
Daniel Morrison was a member of the Milton Keynes Youth Cabinet and the Milton Keynes Youth Parliament up until last week. He only left to focus on his exams.
He said: “There is a reliance on the buses for so many. With these increases people couldn’t access important services and it’s not good. We started using the buses and the All in 1 cards because they were cheap.
“We are already being squeezed from so many directions with rises in tuition fees for universities, we don’t need this.”
As part of their campaign the Youth Parliament will be distributing 5,200 wrist bands throughout schools with the message ‘Fares Fair’ on them.
And Mr Pakes added: “For a lot of these young people they use these services to get to further education or to a job.
“We now want to bring together a coalition of as many people as possible to support this campaign. As a city we should be making choices to support young people.”
Councillor John Bint, cabinet member for transport, said he would welcome alternative proposals from any group before the budget meeting.
He said: “I accept in percentage terms it seems like a lot and it is a figure we would have liked to have avoided. Frankly it is still a huge amount of discount and subsidy.
“I would welcome any serious proposal that shows how the services could be provided.”