Mayor Jamie Driscoll hailed the ‘life changing’ campaign of pupils at a North Tyneside school who won £1 bus fares across the North East.
Mayor Driscoll joined sixth-form students, transport bosses and staff at St Thomas More Catholic School in North Shields to celebrate the launch of Get Round For A Pound, winning £1 bus fares across the region.
The students’ campaigning efforts started back in 2018. Young people in the North East were asked what was putting pressure on them in their lives, and an overwhelmingly common response was that from 16 and above they had to pay a lot more to get to school.
Sixth-form students started to do some research into the topic, finding that on pupils spent 25% of their earnings from part time jobs on public transport. They then started the Fair Fares campaign, aiming to get the fares reduced to under-16 levels.
After a few years of trying to reach out to Arriva, whose prices were not in line with other bus companies, they were put in touch with them by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll, with their next task being to organise a date.
This was proving difficult, so in July of last year, students protested outside of the Arriva depot in Newcastle, wearing their parents clothes to show that they are still students in full-time education so they should not have to pay adult prices on the bus.
This demonstration had an impact, as in May, the ‘Get Round for a Pound’ scheme was introduced, with all of the bus companies in the region committing to allowing anyone 21 and under to make a single bus journey for just £1.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “A year or so ago the young people came to me and said they were having difficulty getting in touch with the bus companies.
“I convened a meeting and as a result we now have this Get Round for a Pound campaign.
“It’s making such a difference.”
Six former Mish Sony said: “The scheme means anywhere in the North East you can take a single fare on the bus or Metro for only a pound.
“It’s life changing for young people. It means more of us can use public transport which is more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who worked on this campaign.
“It’s amazing to have been listened to and it proves that we as young people can make a change in our community.”