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Free Travel for Youth
Detail: Durham County Council chiefs are investigating the costs and benefits of extending free local travel to everyone in the county under 19. Even though this move will be a major cost to the authority, the committee considers the issue of access to services by youth a matter of urgency, highlighting transport problems faced by many youngsters wanting to use leisure and community facilities.

This proposal is being considered in spite of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's announcement that cuts in public spending will have to be made. The council has already introduced free swimming for under-19s and free lunches for primary school children.

Children under five in County Durham travel free if accompanied by a paying adult. Children aged five to 13 pay a concessionary rate. Those aged 14 to 16 pay half-price on weekends, school holidays and after 5pm on school days if they carry an Investing in Children Travel Card.

The proposal to introduce free travel for under-19s was contained in a committee report and presented to the council's executive cabinet. The cabinet agreed to draw up firm proposals within six months. A scheme could be piloted before being extended across the county.
Date: September 28 2009