Parents’ anger at £300+ per year increase in bus fare to Cedars in Linslade

Cedars Upper School
Cedars Upper School

Village parents whose children use a Central Bedfordshire Council bus to travel to a Linslade school have been angered over fee increases.

One mum, from Hockliffe, told the LBO that the fee had increased from £155 per term to £267 per term for her daughter to use the bus to travel to Cedars Upper School.

Central Beds Council's offices at Chicksands

Central Beds Council's offices at Chicksands

She said: “It’s a big price hike to have to pay all of a sudden and my worry is how it will affect other parents’ choices.

“If they’re not able to afford the bus, they will not be able to send their children to Cedars.”

Hockliffe falls within the catchment area of Vandyke Upper School.

Despite parents’ concerns, there is no legal requirement for CBC to fund transport for children travelling to a school outside their catchment area.

The council currently provides free travel for children – who are in care, who have special needs, or who are from low income families – travelling within three miles to their nearest school.

Once all eligible students have been allocated a place, any spare bus seats are available on a ‘first come, first served basis’ with parents paying the price. Concessionary passes are not guaranteed and neither, apparently, is the price.

The council claims that a tendering exercise in December 2017 and January 2018 revealed the average cost of travel on mainstream school routes was around £800 per year and this was why the fee had been increased.

Parents were first informed about the upcoming changes in a letter from CBC in September.

A CBC spokesman said: “Children who attend a school that isn’t their nearest or catchment school do not qualify for council-funded school transport.

“Those who are not eligible for transport are given the opportunity to buy spare seats on council-funded buses, but these are offered at actual cost.

“Parents are not obliged to use this council-run service and can choose other ways to get their children to and from school.”