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Preston Bus respond as Fulwood school pupils face bus fare hike

Posted on - 7th September, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fulwood, Preston Bus Station, Preston Council, Preston News, Sharoe Green, Transport
A Preston Bus service heading out of the city centre Pic: Ian Simpson
A Preston Bus service heading out of the city centre Pic: Ian Simpson

Concerns have been raised by parents after Preston Bus increased the price of its weekly school bus passes to Fulwood Academy and Corpus Christi by 40 per cent.

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The bus pass which used to cost £11.50 has been raised to £16 for both schools. Previously the ‘Child EasiWeek’ pass which would allow children to travel on all bus routes in Preston on a weekly basis has seen an increase from £11.50 to £11.80 and many of the routes are limited including school services.

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On the Facebook group We are Fulwood, people voiced how the increase in bus fares will affect school attendance negatively.

Nicola Foreman said: “My son is at Fulwood and catches 23 to school as I drop him off at his friends on my way to work and then school bus home as I’m still at work. The price jump is ridiculous. There will be kids missing school because of this and not many people will get any help.”

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A Preston Bus service waits at the Bus Station Pic: Tony Worrall
A Preston Bus service waits at the Bus Station Pic: Tony Worrall

A tweet by Preston Phone box that gained traction for asking local authorities to play a role in reducing the price, said: “On behalf of the parents I’m asking Lancashire County Council, Preston Council and Preston Bus to step up and play their part in lowering the price of school buses, £60+ per month is too much to travel to school to get a good education. £1 per day should be the max any child pays.”

A spokesperson for Preston Bus said the decision to increase bus fares came down to the cost of living crisis and despite working with LCC and the schools, no alternative option was available.

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A spokesperson told Blog Preston: “It is with regret that we have to increase our fares on these services, however due to rising wages and increases in fuel costs this has meant these services are heavily loss making.

“We have discussed the situation we are faced with since the beginning of the year with both the school and Lancashire County Council to try and find a solution other than a fare increase to reflect the costs of operating the services.

“Unfortunately no alternative funding streams have been identified which has lead us to this situation. These services will be reviewed in the coming months to ensure they are now viable which should hopefully avoid them being withdrawn altogether.

“We are committed to providing high quality, reliable school bus services for pupils of these schools. The increase in fares will allow us to continue operating these services and means we don’t have to cancel the services entirely. Certain parents may be entitled to free home to school travel for their children and we recommend you check the LCC website.”

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A spokesperson for Fulwood Academy said: “We are acutely aware of the financial pressures on families at the moment, and we are concerned to find out about the proposed transport rises just before the summer break. This is something that will not just impact on our students, but young people across the city who use transport provided by Preston Bus to get to their schools.

“We immediately met with Preston Bus to explore what was being done to try and limit the impact on families. As this is a private contract, there is no official requirement for the company to consult on any cost increases – but we were grateful to them for talking through the pressure they are under with the increased costs they are facing.

“While Preston Bus has assured us they are trying to pursue grants to help reduce the cost increases they have to pass on, there is also more immediate practical support that parents can consider. We are advising all parents who receive grants or benefits, or who may struggle with payments, to apply to the Local Authority directly for support. Details are available on the LA’s website.”

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What are your opinions on the hike in school bus passes ? Let us know in the comments below.

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