Launch of Student Travelcard for Teens: a better travel deal for teenagers
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD today launched the Student Travelcard for Teen at Connolly Station, Dublin. Speaking at the launch, Minister Andrews said: ‘the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children and Young People’s Forum (CYPF) identified the cost of public transport as a major issue for teenagers. They felt that it is unfair that young people have to pay adult fares on public transport from the age of 16. I invited senior representatives from the public transport providers to meet with the CYPF and to listen to their views’.
The Minister added: ‘the CYPF and the public transport providers agreed on the development of this new dedicated Student Travelcard for Teens, supported by Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann and Luas. The Student Travelcard has traditionally been targeted at third level students. However, the card will now be more accessible to second-level students and will provide cheaper travel deals and discounts for teenagers across the country’.
‘Thanks to the support of Comhairle na nÓg organisers, a number of second-level schools around the country are taking part in the pilot programme aimed at making it easier for students to get the card. These schools have been supplied with a Student Travelcard Agent Pack and can now process applications for students in their own schools. In most schools, young people from student councils are running this pilot scheme, highlighting how effectively young people can take power and responsibility into their own hands,’concluded Minister Andrews.
Ali Jack (17), a member of the OMCYA Children’s and Young People’s Forum said: ‘back in 2009, we identified the cost of public transport as a big concern for young people. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we are children up to the age of 18 and we think it’s unfair that we have to pay adult fares between the ages of 16 and 17. Minister Andrews organised a meeting between the CYPF and the public transport providers. We showed them survey results and a dvd highlighting the views of over 1,500 teenagers on the high cost of fares’. ‘The transport providers told us that the Student Travelcard was available to secondary school students as well as third level students. The CYPF felt this fact wasn’t publicised enough and that the card was not targeted at second-level students and was very complicated for teenagers to obtain. We gave feedback on how to make the card teen-friendly, which resulted in the improved Student Travelcard for Teens,’she continued. We visited Coolmine Community School, where students are selling the card, which we think makes it easy for teenagers to get the card’ concluded Ali.
Patrick Caulfield (17), a student in Coolmine Community School said: ‘our student council was visited by members of CYPF to give them feedback on how we sell the card in the school. In Coolmine, we have successfully sold the Student Travelcard for a number of years. The one thing holding us back from selling the card is that a lot of students felt it was aimed at third level students. Now that this new card is clearly aimed at second level students, we think we will sell even more cards. Another thing that encourages the students to buy the card is the discounts that the card offers, which is a good thing in this current economic downfall’.
Andrew McLindon, PR Manager, Bus Éireann, stated: ‘Bus Éireann is delighted to be involved in this initiative as it enables eligible teens to make great savings by travelling across our integrated network of services throughout the country and by also using the other transport partners. Bus Éireann is pleased to once again work with Student Travelcard to provide our student customers with excellent money saving deals not only on our services, but from a wide-range of well-known brands’.
Clíodhna Ní Fhátharta, Media and Communications Manager, Dublin Bus noted: ‘Dublin Bus has always been aware that most of its customers begin their relationship with Dublin Bus as second level students, so a commitment to the Student Travelcard for Teens is its way of acknowledging the beginning of what is a long and fruitful relationship’.
Iarnród Éireann Corporate Communications Manager, Barry Kenny said: ‘we are very proud to be involved with the Student Travelcard for Teens. We are looking forward to this initiative growing and developing into a significant product for students on the rail network’.
Tom Manning, RPA Public Relations Manager, noted: Luas is very happy to be associated with the launch of the Student Travelcard for Teens. In less than seven years Luas has established itself as a favourite travel option for teenagers and is pleased to help in improving the travel experience for teenagers, who are, of course the adults of tomorrow. Already, many thousands of teenagers use the Luas Green and Red Lines every day and we look forward to welcoming many more in the years to come’.
Peter Nesbitt, Student Travelcard concluded: ‘Student Travelcard has found the feedback from the CYPF very beneficial. Using this feedback we have hopefully developed a more accessible route for 2nd level student to obtain a Student Travelcard directly at their school. Student Travelcard is the only Student ID that can be used on Irish public transport. There are also over 200 retail discounts available on production of the card nationwide. We work extremely hard on students behalf to ensure the retail discounts save students on living costs while they are learning’.
The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children and Young People’s Forum is a reference panel of 12-18 year olds. There are 35 young people on the Forum from all over the country. The Forum has been an invaluable resource to the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and its members have been consulted on or involved in many initiatives, including the development of the National Recreation Policy, student council resources and supporting consultations on teen mental health.