Young People’s Voices: Public Transport for Under 18s Gets Me Down

Continuing our new series of stories from our Young People’s Voice project – funded by Victorious Festival and supported by the University of Portsmouth – students at Havant and South Downs College, Alana Green & Jamie McCauley-Lawton,  make an impassioned plea for better local public transport, explaining its impact on local young people and their families.

Living in Hampshire definitely has its perks, however public transport is mainly a downside for teenagers. It needs to be changed for the benefit of young people struggling to cope with public transport. Despite the fact many of us are restricted to using this mode of transport, it feels as if the bus has become exclusively contracted for elderly bus pass holders, as they’re the only ones who could afford to use it.

First of all, why should over-16s be charged adult tickets on a bus and train when many of us do not yet have a job or a way to fund these ridiculous prices? The minimum wage for under-18s is just £4.35 per hour, so why should we spend an hour’s worth of hard work on a 10 minute journey from Havant train station to Fratton train station?

It is so hard to be aged 16/17 and trying to get about: too young to get decent wages, but too old to buy the cheaper child ticket. I’m not classed an adult till I am 18, so why is it fair for me to be charged as an adult just so the bus companies can rinse as much money as they can out of us at such a young age?

A friend of mine got a bus from Waterlooville to Havant Horizon Gym.  It cost her £6.50 for a return. That’s almost an hour and a half of her pay to go to the gym. It does not cost £6.50 in petrol for one person on a bus to drive 8 miles, so why such a high price? Bus companies are exploiting people in areas of Portsmouth where no other public transport is provided. If prices were lowered more people would use the bus, which in turn helps slow down pollution in Portsmouth and reduce traffic in the city.

Action must be taken on the price of public transport. The UK currently has the highest train prices, but in Portsmouth it is still cheaper to take the train than the bus. However, this is still not a viable solution for many living in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas where there is not a train station nearby.

Secondly, I find it ridiculous that First and Stagecoach do not follow the same routes at any given time, meaning that passengers have to change and have two bus passes. We want the luxury of the First bus leather seats, but the Stagecoach routes!

I’ve recently moved from Portchester to Leigh Park, so my bus pass is pointless now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a First bus in Havant, let alone Leigh Park. This means long sweaty walks to college, because I cannot drive yet and I don’t have the funds to get a taxi every day. My mum has to buy my sister two bus passes – one Stagecoach pass and one First pass – just to get to school in the morning, which is costing her over £35 a week.

Public transport in Portsmouth still has its perks, with buses timetabled once every 10-12 minutes. However, from experience, the buses are often at least five minutes late and it’s an absolute miracle if they’re actually on time.

I think for public transport to improve in Portsmouth a cap should be placed on the price of a bus journey;  around £4.50 would be sufficient. Stagecoach already have a Nightrider ticket which allows you to get any Stagecoach bus after 7pm which is only £2.50.


The Young People’s Voices project aims to provide young people with a platform to share their opinions, report on topics that affect them and advance standards of literacy. We worked with students from St Edmunds School and Havant and South Downs College to investigate and write their own stories, in a variety of styles and mediums – from creative memoir and opinion pieces to their own investigations. All their work will be published on S&C throughout July, and all participants have the chance to enter their work into a competition to read their story on the Spoken Word Stage at the 2019 Victorious Festival. You will find all the Young People’s Voices stories here as we publish them.


This project is supported by the University of Portsmouth, with thanks to the teams in Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI). It was delivered by University of Portsmouth MSc and PhD researchers Maddie Wallace and Lauren Jones.