Bus companies have pledged to only ever charge pupils half fare so long as they are wearing school uniform.

All young people in West Yorkshire now have to show an Under 16 or 16 to 18 Photocard to the bus driver to qualify for half-fare travel.

One of the changes young people have told Bus18 in feedback is that they wanted to see was automatic half-fare travel when they were in school uniform. They said the fact they are in uniform makes it clear they qualify for the concession. This will now happen from the start of 2018.

Launched in March 2017, Bus18 is a programme of pledges to improve bus travel in West Yorkshire, to be delivered by 2018, with the ultimate aim of encouraging more people to use the bus. One of Bus 18’s aims is to attract more young people to bus travel by listening to their views and the new school uniform rule is an example of that work.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “As one of the major bus operators in West Yorkshire we’re pleased to support this announcement as we continue to work in partnership to deliver friendly, reliable and value for money bus services across the region. We want to invite more young people to travel on our bus services, but we know that having a travel pass checked has been a barrier in the past and we therefore hope that this new initiative will reassure more students to travel by bus.

School uniform is all that is needed to travel on a bus for half fare. Pictured (from left) Callum Rawson and Honor Byrn both from Carr Manor Community School, Beth Balsam from Honley High School, George North from St Thomas a Beckets, Jay Hughes from Honley High School and Harry North from St Thomas a Beckets.

“This news supports our continued aim to ensure that buses are accessible to everyone which is why we’ve launched new initiatives such as allowing parents to purchase mTickets and transfer these onto their child’s mobile phone. We look forward to continuing to work with our Bus18 partners to improve bus travel, making catching the bus easier in the region and welcoming more young people on board.”

Improvements to information displays are being rolled out across West Yorkshire 14,000 bus stops and shelters thanks to Bus18 and work is underway on a £1m programme of work to ease congestion at 28 bus hotspots across the county. A ‘no quibble’ free journey guarantee for any customer not happy with their bus journey and a refund for a taxi journey home if the last bus that night fails to show within 20 minutes of the scheduled time have also been introduced as a result of Bus18.

In addition First West Yorkshire, Arriva and invested £23.5m in new, low-emission vehicles in 2017 in line with their Bus 18 pledge to reduce harmful emissions.

People can find out more about Bus18 at www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/bus18