Extend concessionary ferry vouchers to Islanders Under 25

Extend concessionary ferry vouchers to Islanders Under 25

🚢 The Scottish Parliament must consider extending the existing Young Peoples concessionary travel ferry vouchers scheme from ages 16-18 up until a young person’s 26th birthday. The scheme which gives young Scottish islanders between ages 16-18, two free return trips on Scottish Ferry routes is currently of little use for students who must travel to the mainland for their education, all above the age of 18, when current vouchers stop. To access university or college education on the Scottish mainland, islanders face a hidden travel cost on top of other student life costs. This can have a major impact on making the decision whether or not to go to university financially. Most students don’t have any fulltime employment and rely on loans to live during term time, on top of this young islanders must fork out sometimes over £100 to go home. Students have a greater need for free ferry travel than 16-18 year olds, the current recipients of the Concessionary vouchers. The Parliament must acknowledge this hidden barrier and act to ensure everybody in Scotland can access further education without major additional travel costs. Some evidence which shows just how disadvantaged Islands’ students are when it comes to travel costs comes from St Andrews University. In 2015 as part of their Access for Rural Communities research, the University of St Andrews found that students from Anderson High School in Shetland faced a minimum cost of £217.90 in order to travel to the university in private transport. In comparison it cost £14.28 to travel to St Andrews from Kingussie High School in the Highlands. It is therefore 1425% more expensive to travel to St Andrews University from Anderson High School in Shetland than it is from Kingussie High School both Schools are in the Highlands & Islands rural region. (Using St Andrews University as an example) 🚢


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