Here in Tyne and Wear we have a number of well known generous travel schemes to help keep young people on the move, such as Nexus’s Pop Card and Metrosaver or Go North East’s offer of single journeys for a pound or an all day ticket for £3.75. However, one scheme that slips under the radar (in addition to the Stagecoach VIP card) is the Arriva Teen Card – an idiosyncrasy of North East buses – which occupies the strange position of being both the best and worst travel card out there today.

For starters, I use the term ‘card’ loosely. It’s literally just a pink piece of paper surrounded by a laminate that’s least twice as big as it needs to be. Nor does it do anything clever like contactless communication or mobile phone payment links. Disregarding the small print – which most people disregard anyway – the Arriva Teen card offers young people single journeys on Arriva buses for £1. Note that there are no return tickets available. That’s a limitation in itself for anyone wanting to use numerous buses in a day. £1 here and there quickly adds up.

Always throwing a spanner in the works, Arriva also remarks that the card can only be used after 6 pm; at weekends and in (most) school holidays and not on the X93 to Whitby and Scarborough. So if you can live with those limitations then you’re good to go from Berwick in the North to Darlington in the South for just £1 each way. But with that comes the second catch. Some of Arriva’s services like the ironically numbered X18 and X20 take an age to progress anywhere – a journey to Alnwick, Seahouses, and Berwick ties you down for 2 hours, 3 hours and 4 hours respectively.

But if you can live with the Teen cards faults, then it’s your ticket to a land full of castles, coastlines and culture.

Happy travelling.