Baston mother hits out at bus pass rise

A MOTHER has criticised a council for increasing the cost of post-16 school transport.

Jenny Jones, from Whattoff Way, Baston called Lincolnshire County Council last week to renew her son Ross’s bus pass.

Mrs Jones paid the council £69 per term last year for the subsidised bus pass so Ross, 17, could travel to and from Bourne Grammar School on a Deleaine bus every day.

But Mrs Jones was shocked to find out that this year the pass would cost £101 per term.

She said: “I am very annoyed, I can’t believe the price can go up by almost 50 per cent just like that.

“I for one will now snub the bus service and use my car to take my son into school.

“My son is learning to drive but we can’t really afford the high insurance costs of having a car. We’re in a bit of a dilemma.

“No doubt this will encourage parents to push for their 17 and 18-year-olds to pass their driving tests as soon as possible, which will add to the number of cars and young drivers on the road.”

Lincolnshire County Council decided in May to increase the cost of an annual bus pass for post-16 students from £202 to £303 this year and to £390 in 2012.

The subsidised service is available to county residents who live more than three miles away from their school.

Students are also only allowed subsidised transport to their nearest institution, defined along district boundaries.

At the time, executive councillor for children’s services coun Patricia Bradwell (Con) said: “In this difficult financial climate, the county council, like all other authorities, has to make substantial savings covering many areas of service.

“The proposed increase in charges still only equates to £2.05p for a return bus journey, or £10 a week for students to get to and from school or college, which still represents massive value compared to bus operators covering the same journeys.

“The council will still be subsidising this non-statutory service or students by a substantial rate of 60%.”

A standard Delaine bus pass from Baston to Bourne is £376 for the year when paid in full.

Bourne Grammar School headteacher Jonathan Maddox said: “No cuts are welcome especially where they impact on families but these are difficult times, all schools are having to cope with a range of cuts.”