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Plans to charge for school bus travel criticised
7:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
PARENTS’ choice would be taken away choosing secondary school if plans to charge for school buses are brought in.
This is the message from Lib Dem county councillor for Brentwood South David Kendall fears families could end up coughing up and extra £600 per child to send them to school by bus.
Currently free travel is provided to pupils who attend a school in the same borough as where they live.
However if proposals are agreed, a charge of £3 per day would be introduced to students who do not attend one of the closest secondary schools to them.
Mr Kendall feels this will have a detrimental to families in villages on the outskirts of Brentwood and urged people to voice concerns in the council’s ongoing bus survey.
Mr Kendall said: “Fares of £600 is a big lump to pay for parents, especially when you consider how much council tax they are already paying.
“I don’t think the plans have been properly thought through and I would urge anyone living in a village on the outskirts of Brentwood to take part in the consultation going on at the moment.
“I think the fares would cause hardship to families and are also taking away choice. At the moment parents from Brentwood can send their children to any school in the borough for free, but the plans being put forward will restrict that choice.”
County council bosses said they are willing to listen to passengers who use school buses as part of their ongoing bus survey.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Essex County Council is currently consulting on the discretionary elements of its existing home to school transport.
“Cllr Kendall’s comments will be considered in response to this consultation.”
The council’s bus survey is open until December 9.
To participate, visit www.essexhighways.org or www.essex.gov.uk.