A Lewisham pupil has written to Government after his campaign to save free travel for schoolchildren received more than 160,000 signatures.

Joshua Brown Smith, 14, says the plan to suspend free journeys for under 18s will impact worst on those from low income families and BAME communities.

Mayor Sadiq Khan was told to temporarily axe free bus and Tube travel as a condition of the Government’s £1.6billion coronavirus bail-out for Transport for London last month.

In a letter addressed to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Joshua, who is chair of Lewisham Council’s young advisors board, said: “We urge you to reverse the Government requirement that free travel for under 18s is suspended as part of your emergency agreement with TfL.

This is an issue that young people right across London are determined to oppose, with over 160,000 signing a petition calling for the reintroduction of free travel.

"We are now calling on you to remove this condition and to meet with us to discuss our campaign.”

The letter, signed by 50 other young leaders in London, highlights the financial impact the extra cost will have on cash-strapped families and how it may result in children missing out on education.

The Mayor of London has also urged the Government to rethink the decision as it will “hit the poorest hardest”.

The Government say the decision was made to tackle the spread of the virus and to ease pressure on TfL.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "“The terms of the government’s £1.6 billion funding package for TfL were agreed upon by the Deputy Mayor for Transport and the Mayor of London.

“The decision was agreed on under-18 free travel to tackle the spread of the virus and reduce pressure on the transport network.

“As part of the deal, the concession for children eligible for free home to school travel will continue.

“We look forward to seeing TfL’s operational plan by June 10."