Labour is announcing a new policy to fund free bus travel for more than 322,000 children, teenagers and adults under 25 in Birmingham.
The move could benefit up to 13 million young people, nationwide, helping them save up to £1,000 a year, and will be paid for using money ring-fenced from Vehicle Excise Duty.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is announcing that a future Labour government will provide funds for free travel for under 25s to local authorities who introduce bus franchising or move to public ownership of their local bus services.
This will encourage local authorities to create municipally-owned bus companies.
Labour highlighted research which predicted such a change could achieve annual savings of £276 million per year.
Around 322,000 people aged five to 24 in Birmingham would become eligible for free bus travel. Children under five already travel free.
Across the West Midlands Combined Authority, which includes Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Solihull and Coventry, 751,000 children and young people will be eligible.
Launching the policy at a visit to a sixth form in Derby, Mr Corbyn is expected to say: “Young people deserve a break. Nearly eight years of Tory austerity have hit their incomes, their chance to buy a house and their career opportunities.
“Labour wants to help young people make the most out of life by investing in them, which is why today we are pledging the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under 25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to visit friends.
“Our policy provides help where it is most needed. On average, children, young people and households with children each have less disposable income than working age households without children. Young people also tend to be in lower paid, more insecure work, and they spend a higher proportion of their income on travel. Giving them free bus travel will make a huge difference to their lives.”
The average cost of a bus ticket in England is £1.94. It suggests that a young person who takes the bus every day could save £1,000 annually if journeys were free.
Labour says it estimates the cost of the policy at £1.4bn per year at the end of a five-year Parliament.
It says the policy will be funded through Vehicle Excise Duty revenues and would equate to 21% of VED revenue, which is forecast to be £6.7 billion in 2021-22.
Conservatives accused Labour of making promises “that they have no real ability to deliver”.
Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Last election Labour promised to pay off student debt if elected and then admitted it would actually cost too much to do. Now they’re bribing young people again with yet another empty promise.
“Our balanced approach to the economy means that we are able to help people with the cost of travel by extending railcards to everyone under the age of 30, while councils also have the power to offer cheaper travel for young people.”