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Ban of Free travel for under 18s: ‘nothing short of an attack on our children’

Recently, this insidious and cunning plan of the government has shocked London youths and their households alike. 

Back in May, there was an announcement made by the Government of “a £1.6 billion funding and financing package for Transport for London (TfL)”. This was done as a result of the transport services’ becoming financially vulnerable as the citizens of London stayed indoors in response to the outbreak of the virus, COVID-19.

According to London Assembly:

“Fares income has fallen by 90 per cent in the last two months because Londoners have done the right thing and stayed at home – so there simply isn’t enough money coming in to pay for transport services.”

The Government’s Solution?

The government has concluded that the “temporary” removal of free travel for under 18s within London is a feasible condition for their plan to “bail out” the transport services. There are many uncertainties surrounding the temporary banning of free travel for the youths of London as the Government has failed to provide a concrete timescale for how long this is to last. 

The effects of this?

This will negatively displace many, thousands, of young people as their families will now be under extra financial strain. With the extra cuts to furlough payments for non-essential workers, the added cost of having to pay for travel for young people will drastically affect child poverty throughout London. (Click here to learn more about child poverty in the UK). 

Additionally, this will further displace BAME students. As the attendance of all students being extremely poor due to the closure of schools and colleges alike, if free travel for under 18s is scrapped, this could result in even poorer attendance of BAME students, especially, when schools are allowed to reopen. If students cannot afford to travel to and from school, they will not be able to attend school, further disadvantaging them. 

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has written a letter to Grant Shapps, the Travel Secretary. In this letter, Mr Khan makes an estimate of about 30% of children being “legally entitled to free travel”. As it is a statutory obligation of Local councils and authorities to provide free travel for school children who qualify, if the government’s plan becomes reality, the realities of many children and their households will descend into financial turmoil.

Many London Assembly Members have also expressed their opposition to this plan and their fear for the disadvantaged areas of London. Jennette Arnold OBE, Hackney’s City Hall representative within the London Assembly, has come forward to condemn this proposal.

She deems it to be:

“nothing short of an attack on our children”, a true slap on the face. 

After the youths of London have obeyed the guidelines of staying home, having their summer taken away for them in the effort to combat the virus, for the government to then take away their free travel as a possible bail put ploy is beyond mocking.

The so called ‘free travel’ only encompasses the use of buses for free. Under 18s still must pay to use the train, tube and tram services at a discount (you can read more here). 

We cannot let this happen. Young people are meant to be protected by the government not used as cattle fodder when they need quick pay-out from debts. 

Sign petitions. Email your local MPs. Raise awareness. (click HERE to help)

Young people are at risk.

We need YOU

250 views2 comments


Very captivating!!


Wow! Lovely❤

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