From today (2 September) young people in apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region are being given half-price train travel, just in time for the start of the autumn term.

The Apprentice Travelcard could now save apprentices aged 19-24 as much as £680 a year on train travel, that’s on top of the £420 saving already available on bus travel.

The discount scheme fulfils a key election pledge made by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to remove one of the main barriers to entry for young people looking to enter vocational training – access to affordable transport.

Launched in November 2018, the Apprentice Travelcard is one of the most generous transport discount schemes for apprentices in the country, and was recently recognised by the TUC as an example of best practice which should be adopted across the UK.

Chris Williams, 23, uses his Apprentice Travelcard to access half-price bus travel between his home in Garston and the City of Liverpool College where he is enrolled on a vocational training course. He is now looking to take advantage of discount available on rail travel.

Chris said: “The half price bus travel has made a massive difference. It makes being an apprentice a much more viable option since I don’t have to worry about money as much – it’s saved me a ton already. It’s really helped me out, and it’s great for me that it’s extending to the trains too.”

To get hold of an Apprentice Travelcard applicants must be aged between 19-24 and living in one of the six districts of the Liverpool City Region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral.

Eligible cardholders will then be able purchase weekly and monthly Railpass season tickets at 50% discount from all Merseyrail and staffed Northern stations. Depending on the travel zones covered by the pass, the ticket allows unlimited travel across the Northern, Wirral and City lines with all rail operators, including Merseyrail, Northern and Transpennine Express.

Application packs are available from training providers, further education colleges and at Merseytravel TravelCentres – further details are available at merseytravel.gov.uk/apprentice

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “With the autumn term about to begin, I’m pleased that we’re able to help young people starting on apprenticeships by giving them half-price travel which could potentially save them hundreds of pounds a year.

Apprenticeships are a vital pathway to skilled, well-paid jobs. As the TUC highlighted recently, we’re leading the country when it comes to removing transport costs as an obstacle for young people beginning vocational training.

Yet again, we’re showing how devolution and local decision making can improve the lives of ordinary people across our city region. “

Councillor Liam Robinson, transport portfolio holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said:“Making travel by public transport easier and more affordable for young people has always been a priority for us.

Already young people in the Liverpool City Region have access to great value rail fares, with Railpass tickets offering them unlimited travel across the Merseyrail network for less than £2.50 a day.

I’m delighted that we’ve been able to extend the provision of reduced fares to young apprentices, right up to their 25th birthday.”

Suzanne Grant, Commercial Director at Merseyrail, said: “We are pleased to be able to support young people in the City Region in obtaining qualifications and valuable work experience through this Railpass offer.

“Public transport is vital for many young people to get to and from their places of work or study, so I’m thrilled that we can do our part in making it accessible for all.

“Apprentices can also use this pass for leisure purposes from the start to the end of service seven days a week – opening up plenty of opportunities to enjoy the Liverpool City Region.

“This builds on our existing Young Person’s tickets offering passengers under 18 half price Railpass and Day Saver tickets.”

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the next generation as they take their first steps in their new careers.

“This discount scheme will significantly reduce costs for our customers from as far afield as Garswood, Newton-le-Willows and Hough Green, not only giving them more travel options, but also more money in their pockets.

“Our partnership with Liverpool City Region underlines our commitment to giving our customers the best possible journey experience and this new offer complements the work we are doing to improve the rail network – with brand new and fully refurbished trains being rolled our across the region.”

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