Young people aged 16-18 across Greater Manchester have been invited to apply for free bus travel when the Our Pass travel card comes into operation from 1st September.
As the online application system went live today, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: “When Greater Manchester asked for devolution, people were sceptical about its power to change people’s lives. @OurPassGM proves that it can. Westminster has made young people the target for cuts; we are making them our priority for investment.”
The pass will cover all bus services across Greater Manchester, removing the hassle and cost of buying tickets for specific routes and operators.
It can be used seven days a week and has no time restrictions for bus travel. Transport for Greater Manchester bosses say that the travel cards – a UK first – “will not just make getting to school, college, work or training easier, but also going out with friends and exploring Greater Manchester.”
The Our Card scheme, which is subject to a one-off £10 administration fee, will launch on 1st September as a two-year pilot.
TfGM estimate that 26 per cent of the metro county’s 16-18 year olds use buses as their primary means of transport, and Our Pass could unlock potential savings of over £500.
Led by Mr Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority with support from TfGM, Our Pass has been developed with the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority and a host of other youth organisations and groups, schools and colleges.
It is aimed at supporting young people at a crucial point in their lives. The potential for making Our Pass permanent will be reviewed over the course of the pilot scheme.
Mr Burnham said: “I hope that Our Pass will change the lives of young people across Greater Manchester. For too long they have been Westminster’s target for cuts and negative publicity. In Greater Manchester we are using devolution to make young people our priority for investment.”
He added: “Our Pass is designed to send everyone growing up here a simple message – we believe in you and want you to have high ambitions for where you can go and what you can achieve.
“This amazing place is yours to explore, to shape and to build for the future.”
Sports firm JD is sponsoring the two-year pilot programme which will also offer a range of sport, culture and leisure opportunities such as free tickets for Halle concerts at the Bridgewater Hall.
Applicants can create an account to order their card online via ourpass.co.uk. Cards will be sent out in August ready for use from 1st September.
Applications require an email address, a passport style photo to upload, which will be printed on the card, proof that you live in Greater Manchester, proof of your date of birth and a valid payment card (for the £10 administration charge).