A group of students gathered outside the Town Hall in Eston, where Redcar and Cleveland Borough Councillors were meeting to discuss the future of the RAT card which provides half price bus travel to young people who live in Redcar and Cleveland, offering vital means of support for those who may otherwise struggle with transport costs.
Prior Pursglove College Students’ Union have launched an online petition which now has over 2,000 signatures as well as being part of the ‘Get on the Bus’ campaign launched by NUS Welfare nationwide.
Cameron Giles, President of Prior Pursglove College Students’ Union said: “It is my opinion that the current proposals are narrow minded and do not fully recognise the impact that such changes will have. Even if levels of subsidised travel to and from the college, school or place of training are continued, students will still be unfairly burdened with the cost of travel for things such as work experience, university interviews, sport activities, volunteering opportunities and other key extracurricular activities which have been recognised to form a vital part of young people’s education.
“Furthermore, the proposed cuts limit the mobility of young people, preventing them from engaging in wider interests or leisure activities; this prevents young people from less economically secure backgrounds expanding their knowledge and increasing their life chances. By providing students with greater mobility, the scheme also boosts the local economy.”
Judy Burton, Principal at Prior Pursglove said: “Support for student transport is a fundamental necessity for the majority of our students. With the disappearance of the educational maintenance allowance (EMA), students really need all the financial help they can get. The RAT Card is an excellent form of transport subsidy, which I hope will be preserved in the future.”
Half price travel has been a long standing issue for students throughout the Tees Valley area. Last year Middlesbrough’s Teen Mover Card came under threat and students campaigned vigorously to save it. The NUS campaigns highlight the need for subsidised travel for all students regardless of which college they choose to attend.
The Save the RAT Card petition can be seen at: https://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savetherat