This week, members of the South Australian Student Representative Council (SA SRC) launched their Free Fares for Our Future Campaign, calling on the South Australian Government to remove public transport fares for all students.

The SA SRC is pushing for the change to reduce inequality and the likelihood of fines, and to ease pressure on young people who may already be experiencing financial stress.

SRC member, Bodhi Wait, says, “For many young people, public transport is not just a means of getting from point A to point B – it connects individuals and communities. Public transport is crucial for me to visit my grandparents in their retirement village, access the city, and participate in extracurricular activities.”

This position is supported by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, who has looked extensively into the impacts of fares and fines on young people, particularly those who are already in financial stress.

As outlined in the Commissioner’s Safe and Sound report released earlier this month, young people rely heavily on having access to public transport, with 1 in 5 patrons either a primary or secondary school student.

One of the key recommendations made in the report is to reduce the cost barrier of transport, particularly for low-income families. “Young people from low-income families who already have a School Card would benefit significantly from access to free public transport,” said Commissioner Connolly.

“This group of young people rely on public transport to get them to and from school, work, and other commitments. Free public transport would remove the barrier to their participation in the activities they enjoy outside of school too, which they often have to forego because they cannot afford the transport costs involved.”

The campaign is being supported by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). FYA’s SA SRC Program Coordinator, Maddie Diamond, said, “Young people are informed and care deeply about the issues that affect them. Spearheading this campaign shows decision-makers that they have ideas and solutions for better public transport, and want their voices to be heard.”

All South Australians, no matter their age, are encouraged to sign the petition and take action to make public transport more equitable.

Additional quotes attributable to those listed:

Helen Connolly, Commissioner for Children and Young People
“Young South Australians are heavily reliant upon public transport. When transport is lacking, unreliable, unsafe or unaffordable this impacts disproportionately on the quality of their lives, affecting their mobility and overall social inclusion and wellbeing. Free public transport would remove barriers to participation and alleviate the financial pressure many young people and their families are currently experiencing.”

Chelsea, SRC Member
“Free and consistent transport for young people enables us to socialise and be independent from an earlier age. I have been taking public transport for 7 years due to my parents working full time and it has taught me so many life skills such as navigation, problem solving and organisation. These skills are essential for young people and should not be locked behind a financial barrier.”

Free Fares for Our Future Petition:

About the SA SRC

The South Australian Student Representative Council (SA SRC) is a body of 160+ high school students from across South Australia who are coming together to create real change in their schools and communities through student-led projects and campaigns.

About CCYP

Commissioner for Children and Young People SA promotes and advocates for the rights, development and wellbeing of all children and young people in South Australia and seeks to change laws, policies, systems and practices to uphold children’s rights. The work of the Commissioner is guided by the UNCRC, the core international treaty which sets out the civic, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children around the world.

About FYA

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), is the pre-eminent national organisation dedicated to backing young people. Our vision is that young people have the power to beat injustice and transform the future. In pursuit of this vision, our purpose is to back young people with the trust, resources, skills, and connections to make change.