Newbury Young People’s Council say it is unfair that 16 to 18-year-olds should have to pay adult prices
Newbury Young People’s Council has started a campaign to lower the cost of train fares for teenagers still in full-time education.
The young people’s council say it is unfair that 16 to 18-year-olds should have to pay adult prices for trains tickets, especially following the Government’s change to The Education and Skills Act to ensure young people stay in education or training until they are 18.
Newbury’s young mayor, Cameron Smith, a year 12 pupil at St Bartholomew’s School, blasted First Great Western for taking four months to reply to a letter from the council asking how train operators set ticket prices.
“We believe that making students pay an adult fare at 16 when they have opted to stay in school is unfair and should be changed. Young people need to be supported through school, not punished.
“A lot of young people in Newbury use the train to go to Reading or London but it’s getting to the point where people cannot afford to use trains.
“This is becoming more and more of an issue and puts constraints on household budgets,” he added.
Fellow young councillor, Amy Graham said: “Young people can get discounts with a rail card but these are only at off peak times, when you’re travelling to school, college or an apprenticeship placement you are usually travelling at peak times.
“With the law changing to make education compulsory until 18-years-old, train fares need to be reduced.”
At present, First Great Western charge £4.60 for a single peak time adult ticket from Newbury to Hungerford, whereas a child’s fare is £2.30.
For a single peak time adult ticket from Newbury to Reading you’ll pay £7.80, with children paying £3.80, while a single peak time adult ticket from Newbury to London Paddington is £25.90, with a child ticket at £12.95.
First Great Western say it is the Association of Train Operating Companies that set train fares, but the association say train operators have the freedom to charge what they like on some tickets.
A spokesman for the association, Daniel Golding said: “The are two types of train fares - regulated and unregulated. Regulated fares are things like season tickets which are set by the Government. In January regulated ticket prices increased on average by six per cent.
“Unregulated tickets are not set by the Government but are linked to contracts between the Government and train operators because within these contracts the Government is entitled to annual payments from the train operators.”
The young council has set up a petition asking the Association of Train Operating Companies to change the threshold for adult tickets to 19.
The petition will be available to sign at Newbury train station tomorrow (Friday) between 4-6pm, with campaigners on hand to take any questions.
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