Kent County Council launches consultation for parents to have say on plans for new school bus pass to replace Freedom Pass
Consultation is under way over county council plans to replace the Kent Freedom Pass with a new scheme.
KCC is inviting the public to comment on the new arrangements, which involve doubling the fee to £200 and restrictions on when it can be used by 11 to 16 year olds.
The council recently backtracked on plans to put a £350 cap on the journeys for which school children could use the Freedom Pass.
Kent County Council backtracked on plans for a £350 cap on Freedom Pass journeys
It did so after a public revolt saw more than 10,000 people signing petitions against the idea.
In its place, KCC has now proposed a new Young Persons' Travel Pass. The fee for this would be £200. It would be limited to 6am to 7pm Monday to Friday and would not be able to be used at the weekend.
Concessions would continue for looked-after children and young carers - who would pay nothing - while the cost to those receiving free school meals may be halved to £100.
Cllr David Brazier (Con), Kent County Council cabinet member for transport, said the pass would still be generous.
"The £200 annual travel pass represents excellent value for money and could allow parents to save hundreds of pounds a year on the costs of transporting their child to school. We have worked hard to meet parents' needs – focusing the limited budget we have on providing bus travel to and from school for their children."
Cllr David Brazier, from Kent County Council
A decision on whether or not to press ahead will be taken once the public consultation, which runs until 24 March, ends and the results have been analysed.
The new scheme would start in September 2014 to coincide with the new academic year and a review will take place after six months to assess how it is operating.
To find out how to take part in the consultation, click here.
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