After weeks of trying to persuade Transdev to stay in the Young Person’s “One Way £1” fare pilot scheme, launched by DITA in October 2012 and due to end in October 2014, the DITA Board were saddened to hear that Transdev have ended the scheme early in Harrogate and Nidderdale on the 24 bus route.
DITA, which is a community-led transport initiative trying to get better transport in rural areas, launched the “One Way £1” under 19’s fare after a significant amount of community engagement had revealed that the high price and differential pricing of bus fares for young people across the Dales and AONB were presenting barriers to young people accessing after school activities, part time work and social activities. The fare was launched as a pilot in October 2012, first for a one-year period, and then extended to a two-year trial in October 2013.
DITA Chair, Helen Flynn said: As we are funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, an important part of our work is to ‘pump prime’ schemes and then reduce our level of subsidy to try to ensure that any innovation we try can become sustainable in its own right. With the One Way £1 scheme, we fully subsidised the fare for the first year, and then have reduced this subsidy to a nominal amount, mainly to help with marketing, for the second year. We have been pleased that the other operators in the Dales have stuck with the scheme on this basis, but are disappointed that Transdev have pulled out, for what we believe are commercial reasons.
So far the increased passenger numbers in the scheme of under-19 year olds have averaged over a 50% rise across the Dales and AONB area. The other operators in the scheme are sticking to the two year pilot at their own commercial risk.
Helen Flynn added: What we were aiming to show through this two-year pilot is that a standard reduced price bus fare for young people can be sustainable. And if this can be achieved in rural areas, then surely it can be a greater success in urban settings.