Teenagers taking part in a National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, will be offered free bus travel this summer.

The NCS Programme will allow young people to learn new skills, meet new friends and build their resilience following 18 months of pandemic restrictions.

Over one thousand teenagers are taking part and will be issued with an MCard, which will allow them to go anywhere on Yorkshire buses for free.

The MCard free travel boost follows the launch this month by Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin of new cheaper tickets and simpler fares for young people and to ensure young people of all backgrounds can access the courses.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “Free travel using MCard is a game-changing offer which will help many more of our young people to benefit from these amazing courses. It’s vitally important for health and wellbeing, plus education, that teenagers can be outdoors and learning together.

Many school leavers have up to 16 weeks away from full-time learning between finishing their exams and taking up a place in further or higher education. This presents a great opportunity to have fun and learn new skills – and the NCS programme is an ideal way to spend a couple of weeks making new friends in a safe and supportive way.”

English Football League (EFL) Trust and local NCS Delivery Partners including Leeds United Community Programme and Bradford City Community Trust, have collaborated to make this possible.

EFL Trust CEO Mike Evans said: “Thanks to our partnership with the West Yorkshire MCard, our NCS programmes can be more inclusive for young people, removing the barrier of travel cost, which is so important to us. The free travel will also give young people a taste of independence and support them with the delivery of their social action project.”   

MCard is managed and promoted by the West Yorkshire Ticketing Company Limited, a not-for-profit, joint venture between the bus and rail operators of West Yorkshire and its delivery partner, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

One of the young people on the NCS programme at Bradley Wood, Libby Hills, 16, said: “NCS has been such a great experience. It’s brilliant to try something new and to meet different people. It’s been really good to give back to our local community with our social action project. Without the free bus travel, I might never have been able to do any of it.”

Free travel is being delivered via the  MCard mobile app that teenagers can download for free.

The EFL Trust then gifts them two free weekly bus tickets, which they can activate and use from day one on NCS.

Places are still available on several NCS programmes across West Yorkshire – for information and bookings, visit: https://wearencs.com.