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Meeting to be held in Winslow on proposed increase in school bus fares

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Prices look set to rise in September for parents who pay for home-to-school transport for their children.

Bucks County Council (BCC) has launched a pair of consultations on proposals to reduce the amount spent on home-to-school transport.

A series of 11 public meetings are taking place across the county for parents to find out more, including one at the Winslow Centre from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, March 6

A county council spokesman said up to now BCC has been able to subsidise the cost of school transport for many children, going above and beyond what many other councils do to meet their legal requirements, but it can no longer afford to do so at the same level.

BCC is therefore considering a package of measures to reduce costs, but cannot avoid proposing to increase fares.

Children under 16 who live in Bucks and pay for school transport currently pay about £2 a day (£390 a year) for their transport, regardless of distance travelled.

BCC says the actual cost to the council of transporting each pupil is on average £1,000 a year.

BCC wants to increase this to at least £3 per school day per child.

It also wants to increase fares for over-16s and out-of-county pupils.

The consultations ask people to consider whether BCC should continue to offer a paid-for (discretionary) service where parents can buy a seat, when there is space on an existing school bus route.

Other proposals include replacing more of the county council’s school bus routes with public transport routes; and options for parents to pay for transport places by direct debit over six or eight months.

Cabinet member for education and skills Mike Appleyard, who will be at the public meetings, said: “We understand parents may have concerns about this consultation.

“But our greatest desire is always to work together to find a solution that is in the best interests of the child.

“This is why it is important that all parents and carers concerned get involved and give us their views.

“With home to school transport accounting for a significant proportion of the children and young people’s budget, we have had to review the arrangements we have in place in these areas to find a way of providing young people with transport in a way that is fair and affordable within the funding we have.”

Take part in the surveys, which run until March 21, at www.buckscc.gov.uk/haveyoursay

 

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