Child fare confusion

neilmc

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23 Oct 2011
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907
At the weekend I went to Cheshire to stay with my son's family, and on Sunday we were going to Manchester to eat out. We took the children aged 9 and 11 in our car. We drove to Sale Water Park and used the Metrolink as the girls had never been on a tram. Finding fare options is however a nightmare.

For trains the children would have been allowed to pay half fare, no questions asked.

For the tram we could buy a family ticket BUT an 11-15 year old needs proof of ID. So to comply with this ridiculous policy I took the older girl's passport, even though she clearly looks nothing like 16, but you never know when some jobsworth might insist on it. In the event we did actually undergo a ticket check and weren't challenged, so maybe I was a bit paranoid, having read so many horror stories on this site.

However, if we had been travelling by bus the older girl would have had to pay the adult fare as she doesn't have an i-go card and such a thing is not available unless you live in Greater Manchester. Apparently, a passport will not do. I have never seen this kind of restriction anywhere - well, until I looked at the West Yorkshire PTE website. This seems to be catching on, but not in Merseyside yet?

I don't like to see my grandchildren being potentially cheated should they decide to venture into a PTE area by having to buy adult tickets when they are clearly children.

Of course, here in Cumbria Stagecoach just cheats all children irrespective of where they live as they have to pay more than adult jobseekers and the child fares would actually be much higher than an equivalent adult journey in a PTE area - needless to say you hardly ever see anyone other than the non-paying elderly on local buses!
 
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markymark2000

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At the weekend I went to Cheshire to stay with my son's family, and on Sunday we were going to Manchester to eat out. We took the children aged 9 and 11 in our car. We drove to Sale Water Park and used the Metrolink as the girls had never been on a tram. Finding fare options is however a nightmare.

For trains the children would have been allowed to pay half fare, no questions asked.

For the tram we could buy a family ticket BUT an 11-15 year old needs proof of ID. So to comply with this ridiculous policy I took the older girl's passport, even though she clearly looks nothing like 16, but you never know when some jobsworth might insist on it. In the event we did actually undergo a ticket check and weren't challenged, so maybe I was a bit paranoid, having read so many horror stories on this site.

However, if we had been travelling by bus the older girl would have had to pay the adult fare as she doesn't have an i-go card and such a thing is not available unless you live in Greater Manchester. Apparently, a passport will not do. I have never seen this kind of restriction anywhere - well, until I looked at the West Yorkshire PTE website. This seems to be catching on, but not in Merseyside yet?

I don't like to see my grandchildren being potentially cheated should they decide to venture into a PTE area by having to buy adult tickets when they are clearly children.

Of course, here in Cumbria Stagecoach just cheats all children irrespective of where they live as they have to pay more than adult jobseekers and the child fares would actually be much higher than an equivalent adult journey in a PTE area - needless to say you hardly ever see anyone other than the non-paying elderly on local buses!
The wide spread Child Fares stuff is absolutely absurd and needs sorting ASAP. I live on a QBP route and one firm has and enforces child fares at 15 and under. The other at 18 and under. On a partnership route.
Where age verification is required, any large bus operators scheme should be valid (note GoAhead in the two south divisions have age verification but they issue it for free but also accept Arriva ones, TFL Oyster cards, passport, birth certificate or ValidateUK and IdentityCards. Overall, a lot of choice there for potential options.

TFGM are a law to themselves though. Don't care about how passenger friendly things are. Just sat there creating rules to keep themselves in a job.
 

Snow1964

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7 Oct 2019
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West Wiltshire
There is very confusing rules, just looked up our local bus company in Wiltshire and discovered my 19 year old daughter can still use child fares providing she has student id (she has from her university in Yorkshire)

  • 0 - 4 years old travel free of charge.

    5 - 17 year olds travel at child fares. In school holidays up to two children up to the age of 17 can travel free when accompanied by a fare paying adult. Proof of age or student ID may be required to purchase child tickets.

    Students over the age of 17 can travel at child fares when carrying valid student ID e.g. Student ID card issued by place of education or NUS card. Student ID must display a valid expiry date to enable travel at child fares.

    Up to 2 children travel free when accompanied by an adult during school holiday periods - validity periods are published on our news page and social media prior to each holiday period.

 

Deerfold

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The wide spread Child Fares stuff is absolutely absurd and needs sorting ASAP. I live on a QBP route and one firm has and enforces child fares at 15 and under. The other at 18 and under. On a partnership route.
Where age verification is required, any large bus operators scheme should be valid (note GoAhead in the two south divisions have age verification but they issue it for free but also accept Arriva ones, TFL Oyster cards, passport, birth certificate or ValidateUK and IdentityCards. Overall, a lot of choice there for potential options.

TFGM are a law to themselves though. Don't care about how passenger friendly things are. Just sat there creating rules to keep themselves in a job.
My guess is TfGM fund the child fare scheme (West Yorkshire's Metro fund theirs) so don't want to spend Council Taxpayer's money on other people's children. In West Yorkshire you must have a West Yorkshire Pass or be in school uniform. So Transdev Keighley buses will only accept that within West Yorkshire, but in North Yorkshire will take pretty much any ID (but only 1/3 off fares instead of 1/2).

In London young visitors can get discounted travel, but not the same rates as residents.
 

markymark2000

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My guess is TfGM fund the child fare scheme (West Yorkshire's Metro fund theirs) so don't want to spend Council Taxpayer's money on other people's children. In West Yorkshire you must have a West Yorkshire Pass or be in school uniform. So Transdev Keighley buses will only accept that within West Yorkshire, but in North Yorkshire will take pretty much any ID (but only 1/3 off fares instead of 1/2).

In London young visitors can get discounted travel, but not the same rates as residents.
Why are councils funding child fares though when adult and child fares have been around for so long anyway?

Maybe if Manchester didn't have a mayor who was trying to buy votes from young people, who are approaching voting age but not there yet, with free passes, they would have enough money for others. Manchester is an absolute mess for young people.

under 5, free
5-10, child fare
11- 31st august after your 16th birthday , you must have a TFGM printed IGO to get child fare (it's a smartcard too so weeklies get loaded onto that).
31st august after your 16th birthday - Aug 31st after your 18th birthday, free fare with the mayors OurPass.

This is all under a mayor who wants a 'simpler and cheaper bus network'.
 

_toommm_

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I used to be in the position growing up in South Yorkshire where I could get 80p child singles across South Yorkshire on all buses, and buy child day tickets. If I tried to use, say, an Arriva Child Day ticket into West Yorkshire though, I technically wasn’t able to as they don’t formally recognise SY’s proof of age passes. I had to have that argument a few times as to how they would otherwise expect me to prove my age as I bought the ticket on the proviso that I was of the correct age to buy and use it.
 

TUC

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There is very confusing rules, just looked up our local bus company in Wiltshire and discovered my 19 year old daughter can still use child fares providing she has student id (she has from her university in Yorkshire)



So does that mean a 58 year old student can travel at child fares?
 

Deerfold

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Why are councils funding child fares though when adult and child fares have been around for so long anyway?

Maybe if Manchester didn't have a mayor who was trying to buy votes from young people, who are approaching voting age but not there yet, with free passes, they would have enough money for others. Manchester is an absolute mess for young people.

under 5, free
5-10, child fare
11- 31st august after your 16th birthday , you must have a TFGM printed IGO to get child fare (it's a smartcard too so weeklies get loaded onto that).
31st august after your 16th birthday - Aug 31st after your 18th birthday, free fare with the mayors OurPass.

This is all under a mayor who wants a 'simpler and cheaper bus network'.
PTEs funding child fares predates the Mayor.

West Yorkshire has funded child fares since deregulation.

Manchester does seem to have got stricter about qualifies. I had an under-19 bus pass in 1992 which I used for 3 months with a Metrocard crossing the border daily.
 

Deerfold

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So does that mean a 58 year old student can travel at child fares?
I traveled with Student pass for a quarter with Arriva in Hertfordshire when I was 30.
I never had any arguments with drivers about my right to hold the pass which had to be shown with my NUS card, but had so many about when and where it was valid (exactly the same as the full price version) that I didn't get another.
 

markymark2000

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PTEs funding child fares predates the Mayor.

West Yorkshire has funded child fares since deregulation.

Manchester does seem to have got stricter about qualifies. I had an under-19 bus pass in 1992 which I used for 3 months with a Metrocard crossing the border daily.
Not quite to this extend though. The OurPass was brought in by the mayor to buy votes from people who, at the time of getting the pass, can't vote, but will be able to vote at the next election.
 

Simon75

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25 May 2016
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The difference between between adult and child fares varies as well.
I'm not sure about now but years ago Arriva The Shires charged 50% of the adult fare, but then changed to 75% of the adult fare.
 
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Stan Drews

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If a child went into a shop to buy a can of cola and a Mars bar, would you expect them to pay the same price as an adult?
 
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Stan Drews

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You've lost me with that one. The relevance is?
Ok, to help you with that, I’ll add another question.
If a child went into a shop to buy a can of cola and a mars bar, would you expect them to pay the same price as an adult?
If a child went on to a bus to buy a journey to town, would you expect them to pay the same price as an adult?

Is your answer the same? If it isn’t, what is the reason for the difference?
 

LUYMun

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If a child went on to a bus to buy a journey to town, would you expect them to pay the same price as an adult?

Is your answer the same? If it isn’t, what is the reason for the difference?
No, because a child earns limited income, or none, so they rely on their parents for transport. If transport fares were based on the principle that age hardly matters, they would be astonished to pay such extortionate fares. Especially on the current climate, this would have an unwelcome impact to the parents' expenditure, so other modes of transport are seeked (a lengthy walk, an arduous cycle, a polluting drive), none of which benefit buses or trains, which in turn discourages young people from remaining to travel on public transport as adults. You should also understand that families are a vital income - if they pay four times the price instead of two adult and two child, they will revert to the car to take them to their destination.
 

robbob700

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if they pay four times the price instead of two adult and two child, they will revert to the car to take them to their destination.
Most bus companies only charge roughly twice the adult price for family tickets, sometimes even less - precisely because they are competing against the car. Single children travelling can be charged much more as they will often have no alternative.
 

The exile

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Ok, to help you with that, I’ll add another question.

If a child went on to a bus to buy a journey to town, would you expect them to pay the same price as an adult?

Is your answer the same? If it isn’t, what is the reason for the difference?
The Mars bar ( or whatever) is transferable - the bus ticket /museum entry / children’s portion isn’t. Doesn’t in itself justify child discounts but does go some way to explaining why they exist where they do and not on other goods / services.
 
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ALEMASTER

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In South Yorkshire the concessionary fare scheme for young people is subsidised by SYPTE (the local authority) who set the rules.

All children aged 5-10 are entitled to the child concessionary fare.

Young people aged 11+ get the same discount if they hold a "Zoom" concessionary pass issued by SYPTE, this is limited to residents of South Yorkshire only.

Some operators do also choose to offer some discounts commercially such as family all day passes that are open to all.

 

Stan Drews

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The Mars bar ( or whatever) is transferable - the bus ticket /museum entry / children’s portion isn’t. Doesn’t in itself justify child discounts but does go some way to explaining why they exist where they do and not on other goods / services.
The relevant point, that most people seem to miss, is that the product/service costs the same to provide, and therefore any decision to reduce the price charged to an particular age group, either has to be a commercial decision taken by the provider, or it has to be based on appropriate funding from another source.
Many people seem to think that child discounts must be provided as some kind of right, although I wonder how many of them have their own business and commercially provide their goods/services to children at half price?
 

neilmc

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Supermarket analogies and the like fall down because a bus or train or tram essentially transports empty seats around unless people use the service, and the cost of doing so is more or less the same. Offering child tickets can tip the balance, as happened with us last week - a family ticket on the Metrolink was, despite my griping about ID requirements, excellent value but if we had to pay full adult fares for all of us we'd have driven into town, endured the hassle and paid the parking and Metrolink would have had no revenue at all from us.

When I was younger and there were a multiplicity of municipal and company bus services, AFAIK all of them offered cheap child fares, usually half-price, to all children because by common consensus it was the right thing to do. These days families with children who have very little money have to subsidise pensioners many of whom are actually quite wealthy.
 

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