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Aug 14th, 2013

Update on the Kent Freedom Pass

By Lynne Miller

I started a campaign about school bus travel in Kent. Because this year, young people like my own children will be legally required to stay on in education past 16. But properly discounted school bus travel in Kent – the Freedom Pass – still stops after GCSEs.

I’m getting in touch to update you on how the campaign is going. Last month we triggered a big debate at county council with our massive petition to extend the Kent Freedom Pass to all pupils in Kent. This would never have happened without you and the 15,000 people who signed the petition, and wrote to the council urging them to do better.

Now Kent council have confirmed they’ve started work to see if better discounted bus travel can be extended to all pupils who are legally required to stay in school (there’s a copy of the letter we received from the council at the end of this blog post). But it’s still in the balance, so it’s time for us to ramp up the pressure and get as many people as possible on board with our campaign.

In the meeting one councillor said it was “a blatant nonsense” that students have to pay so much more after they’re 16. Another said it “would not be acceptable” to reject the petition – and that options for extending the Freedom Pass should be looked into.

But some council members were less enthusiastic. Paul Carter said the council were “victims of our own success” for introducing the Freedom Pass in the first place. He said that young people need to learn that “the world doesn’t owe them a living”.

Please can you help get even more people to sign the petition, so all councillors are in no doubt that local people really care about extending the Freedom Pass?

Together we’ve made discounted school bus travel in Kent a burning issue. But if we’re going to win this campaign and get the Freedom Pass extended to pupils over 16, we need to build the petition even more.

Kent council have said they are looking into making changes before September 2014, but say it’ll be difficult and funding is limited. We need to show our councillors that it’s also difficult for families across Kent who have to fork out for high bus fares after GCSEs.

Now the council have a chance to be ambitious and extend the Freedom Pass for pupils in education past 16 years old. Let’s get the whole county involved. Please share the petition with people you know by clicking the buttons above.

Here’s the letter from Kent council about the Freedom Pass:

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