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latest update 12 March 2010

Friday, 4 September 2009

Wirral council offers teens lessons on how to catch a bus

Birkenhead News - by Kevin Core

WIRRAL Council is offering to spend £300-a-head teaching teenagers how to catch a bus.

Wirral’s “Travel Training” service can be accessed by anyone over 16 and explains paying your fare, getting on a train or bus and of course, how to get off at the right stop.

While opponents can see the benefits for the learning impaired, questions are being asked about the use of the money by a council pushing through a programme of library closures.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “In some rare cases it may well be necessary to help people learn to use public transport, but for most kids formal lessons simply aren’t necessary.

“The vast majority know how to use the bus already, and most others could pick it up from their parents or just through common sense.

“Given Wirral Council’s financial problems, they would be well advised to cut back frivolous spending like this rather than slashing frontline services like libraries.”

The scheme was highlighted at an event held for the council’s partners and voluntary agencies this month.

The course also offers help on dealing with “what ifs” such as a bus running late or missing your stop.

Wirral Transport Users Association (WTUA) questioned why the scheme is open to over-16s without disabilities or language barriers.

John Ryan of WTUA said: “This won’t be any use to the great majority of teenagers who simply learn to use public transport when they get on with their friends or with their parents.

"You could understand it if it was intended to cater for people with learning disabilities but assistance like that would be available elsewhere.

Councillor Jean Quinn, outgoing chairman of Merseyside Strategic Transport Partnership, said: “By increasing people’s ability and confidence to use public transport, we are able to contribute to improving the quality of life and allow people to access a wider range of opportunities whether these are employment, healthcare, education or visiting family, friends or recreation and leisure facilities.”

© copyright Wirral News. Reproduced under fair use for the dual purposes of comment and news reporting


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