Letter to Norman Baker MP, Transport minister
Minister for Transport
Department for Transport
76 Great Marsham Street
02 February 2012
UK Youth Parliament campaign: Public transport
A constituent who is a Member of the UK Youth Parliament has contacted me about the UKYP's current campaign to get a better deal for young people on public transport.
I am a keen supporter of the UKYP and I am sure you will join me in appreciating its work to engage young people in the political process. The focus of its campaign on public transport is especially relevant, with the Education Maintenance Allowance having been abolished, and the Chancellor's recent confirmation of cuts to child benefit meaning that many families have less money in their pockets for bus and train fares.
I agree completely with the UKYP's affirmation of the importance of accessible and affordable public transport for young people. My constituent cites research that transport costs are a significant factor in determining whether young people choose to continue their education beyond secondary level, so the social impacts of policy in this area clearly must not be underestimated.
The environmental benefits of affordable public transport are obvious, but I think it is especially important to consider this with reference to young people: if the habit of using public transport is acquired early, and the experience is a positive one, it will continue well into adulthood. Government policy, as well as public transport providers, should focus on nurturing new generations of young customers who see public transport as an attractive option.
In addition to fares, my constituent raises the issue of accessibility for young disabled people. This is something on which we have much previous correspondence and I am sure you will be able to reassure the Youth Parliament that the needs of young disabled passengers are a priority for Government.
UKYP are calling for a set of national guidelines from the Department of Transport and I support them in this. Local authorities and transport operators can then shape their own policies according to an agreed framework that works in the best interests of young people.
I look forward to your views on this proposal, and on the issues raised above.
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