The cost of half-price bus travel for young people in Hertfordshire looks set to increase.

Young people – aged between 11 and 18 – can currently buy an annual Savercard for a one-off fee of £15, entitling them to half-price bus travel across the county.

But now the county council – which funds the scheme – is considering plans to increase that fee by £5.

Cllr Derrick Ashley, executive member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the environment, says the fee – which hasn’t increased for a number of years – will still be good value.

It is estimated that it would save the county council – which has to make savings of £19 million in 2019/20 – around £30,000 a year.

Cllr Ashley said: “We postponed the increase last year but we can’t keep it at the same price for years and years.

“It's still extremely good value – and if someone buys a Savercard it’s probably ‘paid for itself’ in something like two weeks.

“It’s certainly not gone up at the same rate as bus fares. And it’s probably better value in real terms than when it started, because of the way fares have moved.”

There are no plans in the draft Integrated Plan to reduce the £12 million the county council puts into the concessionary fare system.

And the £2 million budget the council spends in subsidising those rural routes across the county, that would not be commercially viable otherwise, looks set to remain too.

Meanwhile the county council’s draft Integrated Plan – which sets out  the county council’s spending priorities for the next three years – also points to improvements for bus users.

Plans include the installation of real time service information at bus stops across the county, as well as a new app for those on the move are in place.

And there are also plans for travel tickets that would work on services offered by different operators – and some ticket-less travel too.

It’s all part of the council drive to encourage more of us to ditch the car in favour of walking, cycling or using public transport.

Cllr Ashley says he expects the issue of transport to be taken more seriously at planning stage too – particularly in the design of new developments.

Cllr Ashley said: “Over the years we haven’t done enough to prioritise the bus network.

“It suffers from traffic congestion and we – and the planning authorities – need to consider this more seriously.

Meanwhile Cllr Ashley says the council will be looking at ways to cut the significant cost of home to school transport.

The council has a legal obligation to provide transport for all children who live more than two miles from their primary school or three miles from their secondary school – as well as all children with special educational needs.

Now the council is looking at whether they could save costs by co-ordinating school travel alongside transport provided for adult care services by the county council, district and borough councils and the voluntary sector, in a ‘total transport’ approach.

It’s been estimated, says Cllr Ashley, that the approach could save the council up to £1 million a year.