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To: Mayor Oliver Coppard, Department for Transport

Save the Zoom Beyond Travel Pass!


Next Saturday, the 4th November, there will be a demonstration organised by myself and the Students Unions of both Sheffield universities, at Sheffield City Hall (In Barker's Pool, opposite Cole Brother's/the old John Lewis). This will start at 12pm.
This has been approved by Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police, and representatives of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority will most likely be attending. I will be stewarding.
We want this to be a celebration of the successes of the Zoom Pass over the past two and a half years, and a loud call to government to give South Yorkshire the money it needs to keep travel cheap for our young people and beyond. Since June 2021, we have had the cheapest fares for 18-21 year olds in the country. We need to be prouder of this, and safeguard that fact.
We will be having speeches - if you represent an organisation that cares about public transport in our region, or if you are just an individual who uses buses and is passionate for this cause, we want you! Get in touch with me at [email protected] if you'd be up for this, and give me an outline. No worries if you forget to do that; turn up on the day as we will have an open forum to speak after timetabled speakers are finished.
I am currently looking to source a PA/Microphone and speaker for this event to facilitate speakers, so please do also contact me if this is something you can help with.
We will have press at the event, including many student journalists. By attending, you will be giving photo consent as it is a public place, but I will try and bring some red stickers to indicate to press to not directly photograph you if you wish to not be identifiable.

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) Board discussed the future of the Zoom Beyond Travel Pass in July's transport meeting.
The Zoom Beyond Travel Pass, introduced in June 2021 following extensive campaigning by a group of youth activists from across the region, allows those aged 18-21 to access the 80p concessionary fare available to those aged from 11-18. This has bolstered social, geographical and economic mobility by reducing the cost of transport for young people across South Yorkshire, whilst also reducing congestion by taking more and more cars off the road with public transport being presented as a more financially accessible option for those studying or trying to break into the job market.
Due to South Yorkshire receiving comparatively low amounts of BSIP+ funding (A Westminster 'levelling up' funding pot to improve bus services), the Board is implementing budget austerity measures. This must be stopped.
We cannot let the death spiral of South Yorkshire's public transport system to continue - the Board argues that concessionary cuts are needed to maintain current service levels. This, however, does not take into account the greatly reduced demand for services that would be seen in young demographics should their recommendations come into effect, which would lead to further shrinking of the transport budget from a reduction of revenue.
Make no mistake. This is not the fault of SYMCA nor the Mayor - it could be argued they have been forced into this position by the Department for Transport's inaction to save our region's bus services. Despite this, though, more of an uproar needs to be heard. We need the voices of tens of thousands of young people, with the full support of SYMCA and Local Authorities in our region, if we are going to be able to save cheap public transport access for young people.
We are in a cost of living crisis. Young people are desperate to gain new opportunities for work and further study in the face of decreasing real wages. Taking away this tool that has enabled young people to improve their prospects will have the greatest impact on those with the least.
The Zoom Beyond pass must be saved.

If you are a young person with a Zoom Beyond Travel Pass, please email me with testimonials about how Zoom has supported you in your day to day life. I plan to include these when delivering the petition. Also, any local press who wish to get in touch, email me at [email protected] or see my website for my other contact details.

Why is this important?

The proposal would see the Zoom Beyond travel pass removed on the 1st November 2023. In just three months, they will take away the ability to afford mobility for thousands of young people in South Yorkshire. Almost 35000 people aged 18-21 use a Zoom Beyond pass in our region.
In addition, the Board is planning to raise the concessionary fare from 80p per single journey to £1 per single journey in effect from the start of November. This would reduce the ability for so many children across the region to socialise, go to extracurricular clubs, and would most likely lead to a greater proportion of school students being driven to school in car - increasing congestion, air pollution and further contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
SYMCA is currently looking into a Franchised Bus model - taking power away from the executives of profit-driven private companies like Stagecoach and First and placing more of said power in the hands of the directly elected Mayor. The Trams in Sheffield are already being taken into Public Control (I.e., run directly by SYMCA, and therefore more easily scrutinised) this Autumn, and it is looking like the buses will eventually follow. Due to this, the Combined Authority should instead aim to inherit a bus service with concessionary fares it can be proud of! The budget meeting mentions that if the 80p fare had risen with cumulative inflation from its introduction in 2016, it would be £1.20. That is an exciting thing, though! Even if it draws less profit and costs more as a subsidy, it means that South Yorkshire has one of the lowest fares for those up to the age of 18 in the country, and the lowest fare in the country currently for those up to the age of 21!
The neglect of public services in the North of England by the government is a parasite to our progress. Ignorance of the needs of those across South Yorkshire mustn't continue. We deserve a flourishing, integrated transport system - supporting everyone from Thorne to Stocksbridge; one that lends a hand to all young people wanting to study, work, go out, or get about for any reason.
We should take pride in the fact we are giving our young people the greatest possible chance to succeed, and we must fight to keep it that way.

How it will be delivered

I first plan to deliver this petition to Mayor Oliver Coppard and the wider SYMCA board - they need to know that this is not something that young people in South Yorkshire will sit idly by and let occur. We need the combined voices of the Mayor and those this policy impacts on a day to day basis to be shown to Westminster. Furthermore, if this recieves exceptional support, I'll take this petition to the Department for Transport and deliver it to Mark Harper, the Secretary of State for Transport.

South Yorkshire, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


2023-10-19 20:28:29 +0100


'I’m a 19 year old second year student at the University of Sheffield and I suffer with ME/CFS. My disability prevents me from being able to work as I study, as well as stopping me being able to walk to university daily. Learning about the Zoom Beyond Travel pass was a huge weight off my shoulders, providing me with an affordable way to access my education. The change this has made for me and others, especially at such a hard time for so many, cannot be understated, and revoking it would have a huge impact on young people’s lives.'

2023-10-19 10:51:17 +0100

Update on progress.

Last week, myself and other campaigners who have been working tirelessly on this for the past two months, received news that our efforts are being rewarded.

Here is a press release from the MCA -

The Zoom Pass is, for now, remaining, but with an increased fee. 18-21 year olds will be able to pay £1.50 per single fare (compared to £2 adult fare which is rising to £2.50 in December), and £2 tram fare (which is rising to £2.80 for adults).

This means that, through our action, the cost of transport for young people will no longer more than triple overnight.
This is, however, almost a doubling in fees for young people overnight, from 80p to £1.50.

I said this in an interview with the BBC - imagine if the cost of petrol doubled overnight. The equivalent is still happening for young people on the 1st of November.

We will continue to fight.

Thank you so much for the support.

2023-10-19 10:41:16 +0100


'I work 5 days a week in the city centre whilst trying to save money to travel around Europe- I've never been abroad before.

The Zoom pass allows me to travel for less that £10 a week, which helps me to save up my money for an experience that will last in my memory forever. A removal of the buss pass will make it even harder to save and it’s my only option as I cannot afford driving lessons on top of my holiday.

Save us Jude!!!!!!'

2023-10-19 10:36:10 +0100


'Here is the impact of cheaper fares on my life as a 19-year old, full-time worker :)

Living approximately 9 miles away from my place of work and being unable to drive, the most efficient way for me to get to work is to catch a bus, and then eventually a tram. If I was to be charged adult fares, this would cost me £8 a day, when you take into account the return journey, however Zoom Beyond has enabled me to cut this down to £3.20 a day.

As a young person saving to study in University, this difference of £4.80 has proven absolutely invaluable to me, and collectively saves me hundreds of pounds per year, removing the stress of over-spending, and encouraging me to protect the environment by using cheaper, sustainable public transport.

Losing the Zoom Beyond pass would make saving money a far greater task for me and thousands of other young people in Sheffield, and I hold a strong hope that the council will reconsider the impact this will have on 19-21 year-olds.'

2023-10-19 10:32:57 +0100


'I am a University of Sheffield student who uses the zoom beyond pass to travel from Halfway park and ride to the city 3x a week. I decided to live at home and commute in to try and save myself some money and not take my maintenance loan (because of the ridiculous interest rates).

I use the 80p fare around 6 times a week, going into University three times a week. This would see my weekly fee of £4.80 become £16.80 (as the regular tram fare for long journeys will become £2.80 per way and buses £2.50!).

As a student living PURELY off part-time work and no state loans, I simply cannot afford this in any way. I will have to start missing out on my essential in person classes as there is no way I can possibly maintain a £12 increase every single week.

I hope this helps you in your petition and wider understanding of the situation.'

2023-10-19 10:32:19 +0100

Testimonial in two parts. Part 2/2.

'South Yorkshire also desperately needs affordable public transport in order to address the climate emergency. We should be trying our absolute hardest to encourage a downward trend in the amount of people using road vehicles to get around, and despite a lack of funding from central government, the scrapping of this scheme will only lead to less young people on our buses and trams, further pushing people back into using cars.

I can only hope that you will listen to me, and the countless others who have signed this petition and backtrack on this decision.'

2023-10-19 10:31:47 +0100

Testimonial in two parts. Part 1/2.


As a regular user of the Zoom Beyond Travel Pass, it came as a massive dissappointment to hear that the scheme will be discontinued and that young people like me in South Yorkshire may have to pay over double what they currently do for a single bus or tram journey in our region.

This scheme has helped me get out and explore my local area by offering a cheap way to travel by bus and tram in the area. It would be a massive shame for that to be taken away from not only those of us still using our Zoom passes, but for the thousands of other young people that will have to start paying full fare at 18.'

2023-10-19 10:27:34 +0100


'Hi Jude,
Thank you for trying to save the zoom travel scheme.
I just wanted to let you know of a few ways the scheme helps me.
I am a student in sheffield and I do not drive. I am also a carer for my dad.
I rely on public transport to get me about daily but also to help my family.
I regularly have to go to hospital to drop and collect medication/ supply for my dad.
I also rely on the bus to get me to work without the zoom pass the cost of travel would be more than 1 hours work.
I also have to attend placements where I will also rely on public transport.
Some days I can be getting 6 buses!

I have friends and family who also heavily rely on the zoom beyond travel pass.

I don’t know if any of this will help you in your campaign but I really hope it does!'

2023-10-19 10:27:19 +0100

I will be posting testimonials I have received via email in this update thread.

2023-08-11 08:22:15 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2023-08-07 23:26:09 +0100

500 signatures reached

2023-08-06 22:56:17 +0100

100 signatures reached

2023-08-06 22:11:48 +0100

50 signatures reached

2023-08-06 21:48:28 +0100

25 signatures reached

2023-08-06 21:43:06 +0100

10 signatures reached