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Anger at prospect of raised school bus fares in Preston

Posted on - 1st July, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Chorley News, Education, Fylde News, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, Roads, Schools, South Ribble News, Transport, Wyre News
The satirical sign at a Preston bus stop
The satirical sign at a Preston bus stop

The prospect of a rise in school bus fares in Preston appears to have sparked a scathing response at one of the city’s bus stops.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands that Preston Bus has recently advised schools of the annual inflationary price increase for its services, which will come into force in September.

Last year, there was anger amongst families after the firm implemented an inflation-busting hike for its weekly school pass of 40 percent – the second such rise in 12 months, amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

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Preston Bus said at the time that the increases – on routes to schools including Corpus Christi High School and Fulwood Academy – were necessary to avoid it having to cancel the “heavily loss making” services altogether.

While the price rise for a weekly ticket this autumn will be a more modest 5.7 percent, it nevertheless seems to have ground the gears of at least one disgruntled resident with an interest in the matter.

A poster – emblazoned with the Preston Bus logo – has appeared on a bus shelter on Water Lane, which invites pupils to “to take the Preston Innercity School Shuttle…every Monday to Friday during term time.”

However, the carefully-designed flyer is formatted so that each of the four words making up the name of the fictional service is placed on a new line and the first letter of each is highlighted in red – creating the effect of it being an invite to “Take the p***.’

Preston Bus declined to comment on the satirical sideswipe when approached by the LDRS.

However, last July, when it emerged that its weekly school pass was poised to almost double in price in little more than 12 months – from £11.80 to £22.50 – the firm said it was a matter of “regret”, but blamed rising wages and increases in the cost of spare parts for what it said was an unavoidable increase.

The company also said it had suggested to Lancashire County Council that the authority might be able subsidise the services using some of the £42m government cash awarded to it and Blackburn with Darwen Council for their Bus Service Improvement Plan – a funding pot reserved for making public transport more attractive and reliable.

But County Hall stressed at the time that its duties related to providing free school transport to children who live outside the legal walking distance between their home and nearest qualifying school.   It said that the Preston Bus services were being commercially run – and so passing on additional costs to their customers was “the only viable option available to them.”

The authority has told the LDRS that its position has not changed.

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