AS your Metro Mayor, there are three things that are constantly on my mind.
The first is the cost-of-living crisis, which is frightening to many of the one million people I proudly represent.
The second is the climate emergency, with the latest research suggesting things are far worse than feared.
The third is, how do we encourage people to voluntarily change their behaviour on an ongoing basis to meet the huge challenges of the modern world?
With these three things in mind, I’m delighted to tell you about a special birthday initiative I’m introducing as your regional mayor.
Starting soon, you’ll be able to ride the buses of the West of England completely free throughout the month of your birthday. This will help your pocket, the planet, and, I hope, see positive change in the way we all travel in future to reduce congestion, pollution and delays.
This innovative offer – which applies to the vast majority of buses running in the West of England, as well as the region’s WESTlink bookable minibuses – begins for locals with a July birthday and runs 12 months until every resident has had the chance to benefit from their free Birthday Month Bus Pass.
If you’re not a regular bus user, this birthday month of free bus travel is particularly aimed at you. Give it a go – you’ve literally got nothing to lose.
If you are a car user, think how many times you could avoid filling up at a petrol station during the month of your birthday? I hope, with a whole birthday month to try the bus for free, we come to like (even love) bus travel to continue to use it into the future.
Other places in the UK have tried free bus travel for a day, or a weekend, but this is very different. It’s about encouraging lasting behaviour change. Try a whole month – maybe you won’t look back!
This offer is also for you if you’re already a bus user. I hope this birthday bonanza is a boon to you too. A free month to help during the cost-of-living crisis. Plus, you can use it for extra days out too – perhaps to enjoy the amazing attractions and beauty of our fantastic region. You could be better off by one twelfth of the bus costs you shell out annually. It’s super easy to claim your free Birthday Month Bus Pass – simply go to www.birthdaybus.co.uk. We’ll send you your pass in the post, and you’re away!
People tell me buses are important. That affordable transport is critical. That behaviour change of an ongoing kind is key to overcoming the climate emergency.
This initiative to give free bus travel in the month of your birthday is a UK first. It is innovative and new. It allows our brilliant region to show the rest of the country how to take on the big challenges of our time.
I wish you many happy returns – and singles!