HAVE YOUR SAY: Budget cuts affect Harrogate school bus services

North Yorkshire County Council is aiming to reduce its bus subsidy by �2 million a year.(1006021a)
North Yorkshire County Council is aiming to reduce its bus subsidy by �2 million a year.(1006021a)

Children using the school bus service will have to pay extra due to cost-saving measures taking effect this week.

The price of a weekly ticket has gone up from £10 per child to £12.50 per child as North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) aim to reduce the bus subsidy by £2m a year.

The late bus service, which operates from 4.30pm onwards, has also been cancelled, meaning pupils in after-school clubs will have to make other arrangements.

Mark Leaver, whose children go to Rossett School, said: “They have reduced the bus service in general, apart from the school bus service, and I am really annoyed about it.

“To compound the problem of a 25 per cent increase, children now can’t go where they want without a handout from their parents.

“Now there will be an increase in traffic congestion as a result of parents taking their children to school because it’s cheaper to go in the car.

“And the council don’t come up with any alternatives.”

These cuts are part of a wider programme of reductions NYCC is having to make as part of the austerity measures in force across the UK.

Pateley Bridge Coun John Fort (Con) said: “It is a very difficult situation with the changes to the bus services. It is sad but it is a fact of life that we have got to save money.

“The difficulty is that we have got to nip £2m off the bus subsidies and it makes it so that we have got to look at everything. It is a bad job all round really, but it is all part of the package of savings that we are having to make.”

An NYCC spokesman said the members decision to reduce the subsidy has meant that commercial tickets previously provided by the contractor are no longer available.

“At the same time, we have reviewed the way the network is provided and concluded that the “late” bus is not viable and this has been withdrawn,” they said.

Rossett School has, however, made arrangements with a private bus company which is willing to supplement the council’s afternoon service.

Headteacher Pat Hunter said: “Like other schools in North Yorkshire, we were disappointed when we found out that NYCC was making cuts to the school bus services it provides. However, we hope that our solution will help to improve the situation for our students.

“We will have to charge a flat fee of £2 per student to ensure the service is viable. We believe this service will be much more convenient and safe for our students, and negate the need for parents to arrange lifts home or students to walk.”