Lib Dems deny mulling free bus passes for children in England

Nick Clegg The free travel plan would cost hundreds of millions of pounds, the Telegraph said

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A senior Lib Dem has denied reports that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was "very keen" to introduce free bus travel for all under-16s in England.

Transport minister Norman Baker said claims in the Daily Telegraph that the Lib Dems were developing the idea were "simply not true".

On the BBC News Channel, he said ministers were exploring other ways to cut transport costs for young people.

"This is an interesting idea," a senior Lib Dem source had told the BBC.

"But it's far too early to say whether it can be delivered," the source added.

According to the Telegraph, the aim was to reduce the risk of children being involved in road accidents and curb the number of cars on the road, bringing environmental benefits.

Mr Baker said: "We're certainly interested as a government in trying to help young people who are facing significant challenges with their transport costs, particularly on buses, and that's certainly something that Nick [Clegg] is interested in.

"But we've had no discussions at all, Nick and me or anyone else as far as I know, about the idea of giving free travel to under-16s. That's simply not true."

Mr Baker had previously told Parliament he was working with the bus companies to try to narrow the disparity between the costs of bus travel for children in different parts of the country.

Under-16s and under-18s in full-time education in London have been able to travel on buses without paying for almost 10 years, while some children in other parts of the country benefit from means-tested schemes.

Oversight of transport policy is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    I have lost count of the times that I have either driven past a bus or walked past a bus, and have never been charged for it, since when have they charged to pass a bus. Passing a bus has always been free, plus you get a free mouthful of diesel particles
    What more do you want!

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Going to School is mandatory. Why have to pay to get there? They should charge a massive fee for a replacement Pass if the Kid loses it. That might teach them SOME form of responsibility at least, unless they like having a thick ear.

    PS. Make sure there is a "Pull-In" Bus Stop outside every School to allow other traffic to flow. Get rid of grass verges too. They are disfunctional.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    So why should my kids and I go to work and pay taxes to provide for a free comprehensive state funded travel system. In a substantial part of the country there will never be regular public transport and we accept that as its our choice to live here - next people will be suggesting the return of British Rail

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    You say you ignore me, yet spitefully refer to me constantly. You're a hypocrite.

    You can ignore the sound morals of Aesop, and no doubt many people agree with you - voting themselves largesse at the expense of everyone else, doing as the Greeks did. This abrogation of personal responsibility and compassion will ruin us as it has Greece.

    *Gold is money, paper is not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    I'm not bitter. I simply ask that people pay their own way, and not demand other pay for them - that is "non-compassion".

    If people are truly needy, I'll help and show compassion, which I do. But, we all need to plan for our retirement, and not expect other to pay for us. Remember Aesop's fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper":


Comments 5 of 242


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