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Youth adviser criticises the axing of free travel for under 18s

Axing free travel for under-18s will lead to children missing school and be “petrifying” for parents experiencing financial hardship, the chair of Lewisham Council’s young advisors board has said.

Depending on their age, children are entitled to Oyster cards which give them free or cut price travel.

Having received £1.6 billion bailout request from Transport for London, the Government will suspend free travel for under-18s.

Over-60s will no longer have priority to use their Freedom Passes, to get free travel on public services at peak times from June 15. However, the Government has announced these changes will be temporary.

Lewisham’s young advisors board chair, Joshua Brown-Smith, said there will be "many consequences" for parents and young people.

"The financial hardship that parents will undergo with this suspension will be petrifying because most parents have been furloughed and are facing greater financial hardship.

"Young people will miss important parts of the school day because they are trying to find money for their bus fare or pleading to the bus driver to let them on the bus – the decision that has been made by the government is totally wrong and they need to think of young people."

Brown-Smith added, "If young people can’t get to school, there will be truancy and running the streets of London. Parents will be worrying about where their children are."

The Mayor of London has called on the Government to rethink the decision as it will “hit the poorest hardest"

The Government say the decision was made to tackle the spread of the virus and to ease pressure on TfL.


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