Youth teams wanted to road test Edinburgh public transport

Teams of young people are being recruited to road test public transport across the Capital and the Lothians to devise improvements for the next generation of passengers.

Young people are wanted to test public transport in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Their findings will be sent to ministers and operators to help shape the future of bus and rail travel.

The nine-month project comes two months after a report showed young people feared they were missing out on the cheapest way to travel.

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Fifteen-strong “regional design teams” of 16 to 25-year-olds will investigate travel in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Fife and Clackmannanshire as part of the 2018 Year of Young People.

Young people are wanted to test public transport in Edinburgh and the Lothians

The yTravel research is being spearheaded by youth information charity Young Scot and the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership co-ordinating body.

Young Scot is seeking volunteers from youth groups to take part. Their ideas will go to the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency and transport firms. A report by the charity and bus operator Stagecoach released in December found two thirds of young people questioned thought they were missing out on special offers and discounts.

One in four were not confident they had bought the cheapest ticket.

Young Scot chief executive Louise Macdonald said: “Young people tell us travel is one of the biggest challenges they face.

Young people are wanted to test public transport in Edinburgh and the Lothians

“Affordable and accessible public transport that goes where young people need it to and when they need it to unlocks all sorts of opportunities and services for them.

“yTravel is a great opportunity for young people to work together to create solutions to the issues they face every day and have a real impact on this important topic during the Year of Young People 2018.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said the body had called for fares and discounts to be more widely publicised by operators.

“We know that young people – like most other public transport users – are concerned with the value for money, punctuality and reliability of their service,” he said. “We recently published some insight for the bus industry and local authorities to use to help improve the experience for young people. This includes making fares information, discounts and deals more widely publicised”

Nigel Serafini, commercial director of Lothian Buses, said the operator offered a range of fares, free wifi and USB charging points on many buses “to help make our services more attractive to young people”.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “It is fitting in this Year of Young People we provide young people the opportunity to have their say on how our transport system should adapt and evolve to meet their needs.”