In a monumental step toward enhancing public transport accessibility, the new Labour administration is introducing a pioneering Affordable Fares scheme in partnership with all bus operators. This scheme promises significant fare reductions of up to 50%, making travel in and around Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle more accessible and affordable for residents.
Councillor Amjid Wazir, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement emphasised the significance of this initiative: “We want to make it as easy and as affordable as possible for our residents to travel around the city no matter their age or circumstances. Our Affordable Fares scheme is a significant step toward achieving this goal.”
The reduced fares are just the beginning. The council acknowledges the necessity to collaborate with bus operators to expand services, increase frequency, extend operating hours, and ensure comprehensive coverage. Councillor Finlay Gordon-McCusker, Cabinet Support Member for Environment, Enforcement and Regeneration, highlighted this holistic approach, saying, “While reduced fares are beneficial, our commitment extends beyond cost. We aim to work with bus operators to enhance service quality by expanding routes – particularly to key employment areas and currently cut-off parts of the city, increasing bus frequency and extending service hours, making transportation more efficient and accessible for all residents.”
Emphasising the significance of the changes for younger people, Councillor Gordon-McCusker added, “The reduction in fares, especially for our younger residents, is a pivotal step towards making transportation more accessible and affordable. By extending the young person’s ticket to under 18s and with reductions of up to 64% on annual passes, we are not only lowering costs but breaking barriers, allowing more young individuals to access and benefit from these affordable fares.”
This adjustment in the fare structure, with substantial reductions for young people, signifies the Council’s commitment to fostering greater mobility and opportunities for the city’s younger population. It’s a step toward ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder their ability to travel, explore, and access educational or vocational opportunities across Stoke-on-Trent. The Council is dedicated to making transportation more accessible and affordable for all, especially for young people who are the future of our city.
The Affordable Fares scheme, set to commence on July 1, is a part of the council’s broader vision for the next three years, encompassing a £31.6 million investment in public transport. The council actively engages with bus companies, government officials, and key stakeholders to ensure sustained and comprehensive improvements in Stoke-on-Trent’s transportation network.
Councillor Jane Ashworth OBE, Leader of the Council, underlined the council’s commitment to ongoing enhancements: “Our flagship Affordable Fares scheme is one of many transport improvements planned over the next three years. We’re dedicated to working with bus companies and other partners to deliver the best for our residents.”
The Labour Council’s proactive approach is not solely focused on reduced fares; it extends to creating an extensive, inclusive, and convenient public transport system for all residents. This scheme represents the first step towards a more comprehensive plan for Stoke-on-Trent’s transport network, reflecting the council’s commitment to sustainable, accessible, and affordable public transportation.
Residents are encouraged to take advantage of these discounted prices, making the most of what the city has to offer. For more information about the Affordable Fares scheme and other planned improvements, visit www.stoke.gov.uk/publictransport.