North Somerset Council are rewarding young care leavers with a free WESTfares bus pass.

Unveiled during the national Care Leavers Week 2023 (October 25 to November 1), the programme is a initiative designed to assist care leavers from 18 to 21 years of age in the area, and will continue until March 2025, or until they turn 22, whichever comes first.

For the young individuals with a pass, their movement is unrestricted across areas covered by the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset.

By offering free transport, North Somerset Council hopes to improve these young people's access to jobs, appointments, and social events, incorporating bus travel into their regular routine.

The pass is a remedy for more than just commuting inconvenience.

Bethany Swann, North Somerset Council’s young director, shares her thoughts.

She said: "Having these passes means you don’t need to prioritise between the things you need and a day out for example!

"For me personally it means I can take my dog on more exciting walks in different woodlands across the West of England and gives me the ability to go and visit friends who live out of area to me."

Also carried on the WESTfares bus offer, every resident of North Somerset can get their hands on a Birthday Bus pass that allows free travel during their birthday month until July 2024.

This makes the wider West of England just a bus ride away.

The birthday bus pass can be claimed at

The goal, in the larger scheme, is the councils 2030 carbon-neutral target, encouraging the community to travel in ways that consume less carbon, such as walking, cycling and, when those are unworkable, to use buses rather than cars.

WESTfares is part of the Bus Service Improvement Plan, delivered by North Somerset in conjunction with the West of England Combined Authority thanks to funding from the Department for Transport.

Roads Minister for the UK Government Richard Holden said: “People up and down the country deserve a modern, reliable, and affordable public transport system. That is why we have provided North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority with over £105 million to boost its bus services.                        

“Supporting the council with introducing the WESTfares bus pass is fantastic for local care leavers, who will now be able to get to work, school and visit loved ones for free.”