Written by Luna Webster
Public transport costs seem to rise infinitely in Britain. Several recent reports have shown our rail prices are the most expensive out of the majority European countries. One graph (published in The Telegraph) showed that travelling 100-150 miles in the UK can cost an average of £96.50, whereas in Belgium, Italy, and Poland, the cost is generally below £20.
For young people especially, the rise in public transport costs are harmful to not only our wallets, but our social lives too. Most 16-18 year olds rely on public transport as many cannot drive and additionally driving itself is generally unaffordable once you’ve paid for a license, lessons, a car, insurance and petrol. As soon as you reach 16, you are expected to pay for full adult tickets on most rail and bus services, but how is this in any way fair? True, 16 year olds can earn money independently. But they earn half of the full minimum wage. Some young people even choose not to work due to the fact that their high travel costs to and from their place of employment would make their earnings so small it would be pointless. You aren’t eligible to earn full minimum wage until you’re 21 so even 18, 19 and 20 year olds struggle with rising travel fares.It feels less like public transport is there to provide a consistent, helpful service, and more like they want to profit as much as possible from already poor members of society.
The Green Party are pledging to cut rail and bus fares by 10% should they get into government in May. Policies like these are beneficial for everybody, but young people on limited budgets would find them particularly helpful in finding employment, as well as being able to spend time with friends spread out across rural parts of the country. Social interaction is healthy and necessary and proved to prevent or help fight mental health issues such as depression. Overall, this policy would do a lot of good – you can read more about the Green Party’s policies at their website: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/
I believe that railways should be in the public hands and not in those of greedy corporations. When they are, it is the most vulnerable people in society who are affected most significantly. It’s important that we take care of vulnerable, poorer people. If a government doesn’t do that, then what is its purpose?