Extend child train fares to under 18s travelling to school/college
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I am one of many parents in the East Midlands whose children use a train to get to and from school. I have two children, aged 15 and 16 who get to and from school on the train, and in September my son will also need to use the service. In December two of my children will be over 16 and still at school full-time.
As a single mum, and a full-time student myself, this means that I will need to somehow find the money to be able to pay two adult fares plus one child fare to enable my children to attend their school. Even with season ticket reductions, that’s a total of £267 on train fares every month, and that’s if they don’t increase by then. If all my children were entitled to child fares, it would be £100 less.
When I was their age, my local authority paid the travel expenses for every young person to get to school, but those days (in the East Midlands region, at least) are most definitely gone. However, I don’t object to paying to get them to school. What I can’t seem to fathom is why a 16-year-old, in full-time education, is required to pay a full adult fare.
Usually, being in full-time education (which is now required of all under 18s, by law) means that discounts are applied. Travel for 16 and 17-year-olds is half the adult fare in London, and with more children having to travel to go to school in other parts of the country, this should be the case everywhere. In the East Midlands, the only discount is the 16-25 railcard, but it costs money to buy, and only offers a third off the fare, so it is still cheaper to buy a full-fare season ticket, which is what I currently do.
This is a ridiculous state of affairs. Surely East Midlands Trains and the other rail companies must understand that it is unreasonable to ask a child (and until they are 18, they are still children) to pay the same as an adult with earning potential, when all they are trying to do is get to school.
The only option I have is to expect my children to go out to work at the weekends and in the evenings, in order to help pay for their rail fares. This is not fair. If teenagers choose to work, they should have the freedom to spend their hard-earned money on the things that matter to them, not on getting to school. I know I was free to do that as a young person, and I want the same for my children.
I am aware that others have petitioned Parliament about this, but their petitions have been rejected as it is not within the Government’s remit – it is up to the rail companies. Hence I am addressing this petition to East Midlands Trains, my local rail company. I urge you to ask East Midlands Trains to reconsider this unfair policy.
I know I am not alone in struggling with this state of affairs. Please join me in respectfully imploring them to please consider their position with regard to this, and encouraging them to extend child fares to under 18s who are using the rail service to get to school or college.
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