Young people in apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region are being given access to half-price train travel, just in time for the start of the autumn term.

Announcing the delivery of another manifesto commitment, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said the move could save apprentices up to £680 a year on train travel and will help remove one of the main barriers to entry for young people looking to enter vocational training – access to affordable transport.

Since it was launched in November 2018, the Apprentice Travelcard has offered apprentices aged 19-24 access to half-price bus travel across Merseyside. The inclusion of rail travel now makes it one of the most generous transport discount schemes for apprentices in the country.

From September, Apprentice Travelcard holders will be able to 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, Transpennine Express, London Northwestern and East Midlands Trains.

Holders of the Apprentice Travelcard must be enrolled participants on registered apprenticeship schemes. Application packs are available from training providers and at Merseytravel Travel Centres, further details are available at merseytravel.gov.uk/apprentice

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Apprenticeships are a vital pathway to skilled, well-paid jobs. But we know that the cost of travel has been acting as a major obstacle for young people when it comes to considering an apprenticeship route. It was the same for me in the late 70s – when half my wages went to my mum – and most of the other half went on travel from building site to building site.

We want to remove as many of these barriers as we can, so I’m delighted to announce that – building on the discounted bus travel we already offer – from September, apprentices aged 19-24 from across the Liverpool City Region will be able to travel on the Merseyrail network at half-price, potentially saving them hundreds of pounds a year.

Yet again – we’re showing how devolution and local decision making – can improve the lives of ordinary people. “

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.

To be able to extend the provision of reduced fares to those undertaking apprenticeships is fantastic, and will hopefully help to remove an obstacle to under-25s looking to enter work training.”

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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