A new bus pass giving young people greater freedom to travel for less in Westmorland and Furness and beyond is being launched this week.
The A2B Now card is a reduced fare bus travel card for 5-20 year olds living in Westmorland and Furness outside school travel times.
Costing £70,000 and aimed at reducing transport inequalities and boosting the use of sustainable transport, the scheme is one of 14 priority projects worth a total of £5million agreed by the council’s Cabinet in June.
Other benefits of the scheme will include increasing children and young people’s access to leisure, sports, social participation and culture; improving transport support to those children and young people who are otherwise isolated or excluded and increasing use of public transport, reducing the number of car journeys on the road network and carbon emissions, as well as encouraging and normalising the use of public transport from a young age.
Residents aged between five and 20 years old can apply for the pass, which costs £10 per year, from today (July 13).
The A2B Now card is valid on local bus services within Westmorland and Furness and entitles holders to bus travel for £1.80 (single) and £3 (return). If the normal fare is less than this travellers will pay the normal fare.
Councillor Neil Hughes, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environmental Services, said: “I am delighted to see this new Westmorland and Furness-wide A2B Now card up and running so soon after the formation of the council and proud that we can do this to support young people in the area travel around the area.”
Councillor Peter Thornton, Cabinet Member for Highways and Assets and chairman of the Cabinet Highways & Transport Strategic Board, said: “This scheme has the potential to make a real difference to young people’s lives, making public transport more accessible and cheaper at a time when every penny counts.”
The scheme is one of 14 projects representing £5m of priority investments for Westmorland and Furness agreed by the council’s Cabinet.
The projects reflect the new council’s key priorities for the area, including funding for local areas, biodiversity and nature, sustainable transport, social care, children, culture and education.
Application forms for the A2B Now card are available at all libraries in Westmorland and Furness.
Completed application forms can be taken to the nearest library, with evidence of your address and age, a recent passport photo and £10. Barrow, Kendal and Penrith library staff will be able to take applicants’ photograph and help complete application forms. Completed forms with copies of documents, a passport photo and a cheque for £10 can also be sent to NoWcard Applications, Westmorland & Furness Council, PO Box 415, Carlisle, CA1 9GU.
Tickets must be purchased in Westmorland and Furness but the card is also valid for bus travel to all stops on journeys to Carlisle, Keswick and Lancaster, where the journey starts in Westmorland and Furness.
Cards can be used at weekends and school holidays, and on school days but not before 9.30am or between 3pm and 5pm.
Running alongside the A2B Now card will be a 16-to-19 Travel Bursary Fund – a separate priority project set to be launched in August to provide financial support to young people to help them to overcome barriers and challenges to travel for education, learning and training.