Evidence has suggested that young people of secondary school age who would travel from outlying areas to access facilities and activities in the town are being deterred from doing so – because the cost of travel is too high.
A Fair Travel scheme had been launched 15 years ago when the cost of travel was identified as being a barrier – that, however, fell into abeyance. Now bus operator Stagecoach has teamed up with the Moray Community Safety Partnership in relaunching the scheme from August 28.
Young people will be issued with a ‘Fair Travel Card’ from their schools that will entitle them to reduced travel to and from Elgin – in addition to discounted entry to the Moray Leisure Centre, Moray Playhouse and several retail outlets in the town.
Highlighting the misconception that under-16s who were in the Young Scot card scheme received discounted bus fares, community safety officer Andy Jamieson announced a relaunch that would give them discounts.
He said: “The community safety partnership, along with Stagecoach, is delighted to be in a position to reintroduce the Fair Travel scheme in Moray and I would like to thank Stagecoach and all the other businesses for their participation in the scheme.
“By providing the young people in secondary education with discounted travel we will hopefully reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour within local communities.”
The move has been welcomed by Police Scotland’s Elgin-based Chief Inspector Willie Findlay who said: “The perceived lack of facilities for youngsters in this age group in their own communities is often cited as the cause of vandalism and other acts of anti-social behaviour.
“This initiative will help them access a much wider range of facilities and entertainment venues than they might otherwise be able to enjoy.”
Steve Walker, managing director of Stagecoach North Scotland, added: “Stagecoach is delighted to support the Fair Travel scheme in Moray once more.
“We think it is vital that young people can afford to use our services and we hope the scheme will encourage more people to use public transport to travel to Elgin.”
Examples of the reduced return fares are: From Cullen – £5 (normally £7.80); Buckie – £4 (£5.80); Dufftown – £4 (£5.80); Garmouth – £3 (£4.40); Forres – £3 (£4.90); Lossiemouth – £2 (£3.20).