By Local Democracy Reporter Simon Finlay
Prices for school bus travel passes are to be frozen – but critics say charges are already too high.
The cost of a standard pass stays at £450, with low income households being charged £120, while the 16+ ticket remains at £500.
Kent County Council operates the KCC Travel Saver scheme and is able to avoid increases using the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Bus Back Better fund.
Parents have until August 13 to apply ahead of the new academic year in September. An updated system introduced by KCC means customers must make fresh applications for their children.
The cost of the freeze is £2.5m.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: “This scheme represents excellent value for money for many young people who catch the bus to school and being able to make it as accessible as possible is important to all Members of this council.
“To realise our priority as an organisation to leave our environment in a better condition than that in which we found it, we must incentivise more environmentally friendly methods of travel.”
Liberal Democrat spokesman Antony Hook said his party had opposed a series of rises in school bus passes in recent years.
He added: “It’s a good thing but a small thing, given the cost of living crisis. The cost of a school bus pass is already very high, so it is still a lot of money for people to find. There was a time when travel by bus for school children was free.”
Roads Minister, Richard Holden, said: “People up and down the country deserve a modern, reliable, and affordable public transport system. That is why we have allocated more than £35 million to Kent County Council to invest in its bus services.
“Supporting Kent County Council in freezing the cost of the Student Travel Saver Bus is great for local students get to school easily while helping families save on their children’s travel costs as we leave no stone unturned in supporting households deal with the rising cost of living.”