Earlier this year, the government announced its plans to ‘temporarily’ suspend free travel for under- 18s in London, to protect public health during the pandemic.

In response, the Child Poverty Action Group launched its #Don’tZaptheZip campaign, which has since received an overwhelming amount of support from many young Londoners. Several London MP’s, including Jeremy Corbyn MP for Islington North, have also shown public support for the campaign, either through signing the Early Day Motion or sharing the campaign via their social media. 

In August, the government announced it would delay the suspension of free travel for under- 18s in London until November, aside from certain groups who would still be eligible. 

Then, the Child Poverty Action Group held a day of action as part of the campaign, and many young Londoners travelled to Westminster to protest.

Following this day of action, the government announced yet another delay for the suspension of free travel for under- 18s in London until spring 2021. This was a significant victory for the campaigners who took part.

I asked a few of my friends how having free travel has helped them. One of my friends mentioned how ‘getting the bus to school was sometimes the deciding factor between being late or not’ and another friend talked about how free travel enabled her to ‘travel to the other side of London from the age of seven, twice a day’. 

It’s no secret that London is a great city with so much to offer. Free travel gives young Londoners the freedom to explore and make the most of the wonderful city we live in. Not to mention, it’s absolutely crucial for families living in poverty; nobody should have to miss out on school because they can’t afford the journey.

According to research carried out by the Partnership for Young London charity, 64.4% of young Londoners said that they were worried that their parents would struggle to make ends meet if they had to pay for transport, and this is no surprise: it is estimated that the government decision to scrap free travel for young people will cost the average London family an additional £800 per year.

Support for this campaign from as many Londoners as possible is crucial! 

To do your part, email your local MP asking them to show their support for the campaign. If you’re interested, check out @/dontzapthezip on Instagram for more information and more ways to get involved.