Medway Elects
Council: Introduce Free Bus Travel for Under-18s (Amendment)

14 January 2010


This council notes that Kent county council in 2007 introduced a scheme providing bus travel, free at the point of use to Kent 11-16 students attending school in the county (this was phased in). This scheme has proved very successful and Kent is considering extending the scheme to include 17 and 18 year olds.

At the moment students aged 11 to 16 receive unlimited free bus travel, anytime and anywhere in the area for a period of 12 months, for a one-off payment of £50 which helps to cover administration costs and some of the payments to the bus companies.

Applicants must meet the following key criteria in order to apply for the scheme:

  • In academic year 7-11 at a valid school in the authority.
  • Living within the administrative boundary of the authority.

The net cost of the scheme is £11 million. The estimated cost for including 17 and 18 year olds is a further £5 million. These costs reimburse the bus companies for the fares they have lost and their additional costs in moving extra people.

This council believes

  1. that there are too many car journeys on the roads of Medway which leaves our roads congested and creates serious pollution;
  2. that the current situation leaves children from poorer socio-economic groups at a disadvantage with respect to using leisure facilities; and
  3. that as children get older, part of the growing up process is learning independence including that of mobility.

This council asks cabinet to investigate the feasibility of a similar scheme in Medway. Kent is approximately six times more populous than Medway and therefore the maximum this should cost could be £2 million (and £1 million for 17 and 18 year olds).

This would not affect current rights of those entitled to free transport to school.


Councillor Maple, supported by Councillor Griffiths, proposed that the motion be replaced with:

This council supports the introduction of a fully free bus travel scheme for young people up to the age of 18, who are resident in Medway and in full time education. This council asks officers to cost it in time for the council's forthcoming budget meeting. The investigation is to include the current underspend on the half price scheme.

On being put to the vote, the amendment was lost.

Vote Result

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