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Free travel for under 18s to be removed after half term - AoC responds

11 August 2020

The temporary removal of free travel from under 18s, for an unknown period, was a condition of Transport for London’s £1.6bn coronavirus bailout from the Government in May. On 31 July, in a letter to TfL the Minister for Roads, Buses and Places confirmed that the temporary suspension of free travel for 11-17 year olds will be implemented immediately after October Half Term. The following children will remain eligible for free travel: Children aged 10 and under Children aged 11-17 who live more than two miles from their school/college Children aged 11-17 who live less than two miles away from their school/college if they: have a social worker, have an Education, Health and Care Plan, are in alternative provision (i.e. educated in a pupil referral unit, or an alternative provision academy/free school), do not have a safe walking route, cannot walk due to a medical condition or lack of mobility Responding to the letter of confirmation, AoC's Area Director for London, Mary Vine-Morris said: “While it’s disappointing the government is still planning to go ahead with the removal of free travel for most young Londoners, it’s good to see that some will now be exempt from the changes. It is also welcome that it won’t be implemented until after half term, allowing students to get to school and college after closures and summer break and have their voices heard about this life-choice limiting proposal. It is down to the tireless campaigning and activism of young people themselves that these concessions have been made. However, we would still press for a complete reversal of the decision to scrap free travel. It will undoubtedly burden councils that are already overstretched and hit the most disadvantaged students disproportionately. These exemptions, which rely on the distance you are from your place of study, mean many young people will not be aware of the changes as they make their decisions about their next steps now.” We are supporting the Child Poverty Action Group campaign to reinstate free travel for all young people but our campaign focuses the 16-18 year old travel subsidies and saving the 16+ Oyster Card. You can use the resources on the London Colleges website along with the hashtag #SaveThe16PlusOyster when on social media.