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London youth who grew up in care now eligible for half-price bus and tram travel

Young people in London who grew up in care are now able to apply for a half-price discount on their bus and tram travel.

The policy, announced by mayor Sadiq Khan last year, covers London care leavers aged 18-25, with the goal of allowing them to travel more affordably while they transition into independent living.

It is thought that around 15,000-16,000 care leavers in the capital are eligible for the concession, which will be accessible using a new Oyster photocard.

Care leavers are disproportionately likely to be not in education, employment or training.

The proportion of care leavers aged 19-21 who are unemployed and not in any form of education or training has been between 38 and 41 per cent over recent years. As a rough comparison, the figure for all 18-24 year-olds nationally was about 14 per cent in the period spanning April to June last year.

Where care leavers do stay in education or seek a job or apprenticeship, they often face a higher burden of costs, as they are unable to rely on support from family.

Mr Khan said: “Leaving care can be extremely challenging or daunting for young adults who can feel unprepared for the transition to independent living.

“Many care leavers lack the resources needed to continue training or gain meaningful employment once leaving care, which can, in turn, lead to both financial and emotional hardship.”

He added that the discount “will give these young people a helping hand to thrive in this next stage of their lives as we continue to build a better, fairer London for everyone”.

The discount is part of the Pan London Care Leavers’ Compact – a common core offer of support designed with care-experienced young people and agreed by the mayor, Transport for London (TfL), borough councils and the capital’s health services.

TfL commissioner Andy Lord said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to launch this new concession, which will directly support those Londoners leaving care and help them transition into independent living in the capital.

“We remain keen to ensure that fares on public transport remain as affordable as possible, while ensuring that TfL can continue to run clean, green and safe services and support London’s continued economic recovery.

“Our wide range of concessions, as well as the Hopper fare, are a big part of our inclusive transport offer that seeks to ensure everyone can get around the city and enjoy all that it has to offer.”

Care leavers can apply for the Oyster photocard by visiting: https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/18-25-care-leaver-oyster-photocard

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