Discount rail scheme for sixth-form students could be stopped

Plans to stop a rail discount scheme used by sixth-form students in West Sussex have been revealed after a massive drop in take up.

Southern train SUS-190731-112041001
Southern train SUS-190731-112041001

The Sussex Student Card, run by West Sussex County Council in partnership with East Sussex and Brighton & Hove councils and Southern Rail, offers a 34 per cent discount on rail travel for further education students.

But since the Government launched its own card offering a 50 per cent discount on rail travel for 16-17-year-olds the number of applications for the Sussex Student Card has dropped by 94 per cent.

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West Sussex County Council asks for views each year about its Post-16 Transport Policy Statement.

This outlines the help and information that is available to 16-19s from transport operators and the council.

This year in particular the council is asking for the public’s view on any impact that discontinuing its rail scheme would have.

Nigel Jupp, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Our Sussex Student Card had been popular but we are finding that most are now using the 16-17 card and enjoy more of a saving.

“But we appreciate that everyone’s circumstances are different and we are keen to understand the impact of any decision we make, so I encourage those who are already using either card, or those might use it in future to give us their views.”

While the level of discount available with the 16-17 railcard varies depending on individual circumstances, such as date of birth and length of course, it is estimated that most young people will save more than if they used the Sussex Student Card.

The proposed change forms part of the wider annual consultation on the council’s Post-16 Transport Policy. The policy sets out the help that is available through the council, schools, colleges and transport operators for young people of sixth-form age in and those who are 19+ with an Education Health and Care Plan to get to school.

A consultation is open and runs until May, 15, and can be found on the council’s website.

All responses will be considered before the council’s Post 16 Transport Policy statement is published at the end of May.