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'Subsidise More Bus Passes Instead Of Electric Cars'

A deputy wants to divert funding for electric car and e-bike grants into subsidising bus passes instead.

Reform Jersey's Deputy Rob Ward would like money to be reallocated from helping to fund the purchase of electric bikes and cars.

Currently, the government is offering grants towards the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle.

An incentive scheme provides up to £3,500 towards a the cost of a car or van worth up to £40k, or up to £300 towards an electric moped or motorcycle worth up to £5k.  Another scheme has been offering tranches of £300 and £600 vouchers for islanders to buy a new e-bike.

Both are funded from the Climate Emergency Fund, which is made up of ring-fenced income sources and directed at projects to help the island achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Deputy Ward suggests a maximum of £1.5million be used to extend the Avanchi 18 bus pass scheme to islanders under the age of 21.

He previously successfully pushed for the cheaper bus travel for children, with the introduction of the £20 a year pass. 

In a separate amendment to the Government Plan, which will be debated by the States Assembly in December, he is asking for a £1m to subsidise more bus passes.

He wants a six-month long trial of a scheme that would cut the price of an unlimited annual pass £495 to £200 for tranches of 1,000 islanders at a time.

The government subsidies would mean LibertyBus would still receive the same amount for the passes, but islanders would get them for a fraction of the current price.

Deputy Ward says the aim is to encourage people to choose public transport, lessen the impact on the environment and clear more traffic from the roads.

He says it makes sense when the bus company is clearly pushing to extend the frequency and the number of routes.

"So now, let's get people on those buses with a yearly bus pass.

The bus company isn't losing any money because they're still getting the same amount for that yearly pass, and they'll have more of an idea about the number of people who want to travel."

Avanchi 18, a government-funded bus pass for people under 19, has been a popular scheme with around 5,000 young islanders.

Deputy Ward believes that having the option to use the bus contributes to change.

"I have heard from families that it has been a really successful thing.

These are the sort of things that are targeted in the right places, at the right time and for the right reasons, and we can actually see change happening because of them."

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