HUNDREDS of youngsters in the South Lakes will be able to enjoy cheaper bus fares until at least 2014.

Members of Cumbria County Council’s South Lakeland Local Committee agreed to allocate £62,000 towards the A2B NoWcard scheme, which helps young people access leisure, education, volunteering and recreational activities.

It provides subsidised travel for people aged five to 19 who live in the district with users paying £1 for a single journey and £1.80 for a return trip.

The councillors’ pledge means the scheme will continue until March 2014.

The council said young people had described the scheme as ‘a lifeline’.

Kendal councillor and committee member Clare Feeney Johnson said: “A lot of young people face difficulty getting out and about to access services and it isn’t just social activities.

“One young person I spoke to is able to access much-needed work experience in hospitality in the Lake District. I think this is really important to our young people.”

Committee member and Grange councillor Bill Wearing suggested adding up to 20 pence to the price of journeys because of rising costs in order to stop a ‘huge increase’ in the future.

The committee’s transport working group agreed to look into the proposal.

The A2B NoWcard programme launched in December 2010.

More than 700 youngsters have concessionary passes which allow them to travel within South Lakeland or to key service centres in Keswick, Penrith, Barrow, Lancaster and Kirkby Stephen.

A one-off charge of £5 is payable when applying for passes.

Electronic application forms are available in South Lakes libraries.