Following the recent consultation on a reduction in bus subsidies across North Yorkshire, the county council has decided to reduce the amount of money it spends on subsidising local bus services.
These reductions will begin have taken effect this week and impacts upon thousands of young people attending secondary schools across the county.
Before the changes a weekly bus pass for my 12 year old son who attends Rossett High School cost me £10 per week, and he was able to use this pass seven days a week so could travel to town to meet friends for no extra cost on a weekend. The new weekly pass will cost £12.50 and is only valid Monday to Friday, if he wants to use the bus to town on a weekend he has to pay extra. This is an increase of more 25 per cent and way above the rate of inflation.
On top of these fare increases the late bus from Rossett school has also been stopped, meaning no bus home for those children who attend after school clubs, sports, those who need to stay late to access library facilities or those who have detentions.
Rossett School has managed to secure a private contract with a bus company to provide a late bus service, again at an extra cost to parents. The weekly bus pass cost alone is now £50 per month per child. These fare increases being forced upon parents means it will be more cost effective to drive children to school, thus impacting on our already congested roads and adding to our Co2 emissions.
This is counterproductive when you read details of ‘The Harrogate and Knaresborough sustainable transport package’ detailed on NYCC’s website of which the main aim is to reduce traffic congestion and to make improvements to the local bus infrastructure. On top of this many children will now miss out on the option of independent travel to school and will spend their time being ferried around by parents.
The number of children using the school buses will therefore reduce which will result in further cuts to services and will then affect those children really in need of school transport. How can North Yorkshire County Council defend these cuts whilst encouraging people to leave their cars at home and use public transport more?
It’s a real shame NYCC are not putting more effort into making the journey for our school children a more convenient and more environmentally friendly one.
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