Confusion over bus changes

CHANGES to bus services across the Harrogate district are proving problematic for young travellers.

After contracts were re-negotiated by North Yorkshire County Council at the start of the new financial year, several services have been taken over by new companies.

The changes have led one parent to call for the council to work with bus operators to make things easier for children travelling to school.

Beverley Iveson’s 16-year-old daughter Katrina, who lives in Knaresborough and attends Boroughbridge High School, gets two buses to school - the first to the bus station, operated by Transdev, and the second out to school, operated by Eddie Brown.

It means she has had to start walking the first part of the journey to avoid getting two separate passes.

The bus operators changed during the Easter holidays, meaning the bus passes Mrs Iveson had bought for her children, Katrina and son Stephen, a week before could no longer be used.

Stephen, 18, is a sixth former at St Aidans and St John Fisher in Harrogate.

Transdev has refunded the amount remaining on the two passes, but the new pass for Eddie Brown can only be used on that service and costs £45, compared to £36.60 for the old pass which could be used at any time, on any Transdev bus.

Mrs Iveson said: “They would have been better making all the changes in September and giving us all notice over the summer holidays so we knew what we were doing.

“The information only arrived about three days before it all changed.”

This week, North Yorkshire County Council pledged to have a look at the new system and see whether anything could be done to make the situation easier.

A spokesman said: “It’s something we will talk to the operators about and see what we can do.”

Meanwhile, a price rise has also taken effect on Transdev buses. Although full-price fares have only risen by a small amount, there has been a more significant rise in the prices paid by children.

Managing director Nigel Eggleton said: “The discount on child fares has now been set at two thirds of adult fares.

“It’s a move that we’ve taken reluctantly but one that brings us in with what is becoming the industry norm.

“In some areas the child fare is three quarters of the adult price and in a number of locations there is no child discount at all.

“At one time the majority of our passengers paid the full fare but that situation has changed dramatically over the last few years.

“Our costs are just the same whether we carry an adult, or a child.

“If a bus is full of passengers paying only the children’s fare that service is likely to be losing money and that is unsustainable. On many routes space on the bus is being filled by children’s ticket holders and full fare paying passengers are unable to get on.”