Transport links holding back young people

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Bus and rail services are “not fully meeting the needs of local people” in towns and villagesin the Express area, according to a new draft report.

The report, compiled by a council scrutiny board, says that the cost of public transport is a “barrier” to young people seeking employment or accessing training or education, and rail services in the Five Towns are in need of improvement.

Jon Tricket MP.

Jon Tricket MP.

It said that “young people lacked confidence in public transport”, noting that concerns relating to transport were in the top three issues raised by the Youth Forum.

Castleford central and Glass Houghton councillor Tony Wallis, a member of the group who compiled the report, said: “We need something for under 25s to help them access work, college and school.

“I’m very keen that young people are given all the opportunities they have to learn as much as they can and progress when they get to work. It would be a good help to have a more affordable cost of public transport and better access to it.”

The report said the timings of bus services at the start and end of the school day put limitations on pupils wanting to access after-school activities.

Tony Wallis.

Tony Wallis.

It also said rural areas were less well provided for than urban ones and recommended connectivity was improved.

Group member and Pontefract South councillor Celia Loughran said: “The transport links in the Five Towns and South East are not acceptable. They are holding people back from accessing education, training and job opportunities.”

Parish and town councils were consulted as the report was compiled. Ackworth Parish Council said parts of its community was isolated. It said: “The services currently provided are inadequate to enable a person to get to and from a place of work or education easily and those that run are not reliable.”

Hemsworth Town Council also said that people were struggling to find employment because of the high cost of travelling to South Yorkshire.

It said: “We also have cross boundary issues with the lack of public transport to Barnsley where development is taking place and jobs are available.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said he would like to see bus passes introduced for people under the age of 26 to reduce costs, as well as more services connecting areas of the district to Wakefield, Barnsley, Leeds, Doncaster and Sheffield.

“Many young people either haven’t learnt to drive or can’t afford to drive,” he said. “And when you live in villages, often the work is somewhere else.

“Buses have been cut down and in some places there’s none and this is a big barrier to young people being able to get on in the world.”