Share

Mostly Cloudy

Mon

13°C | 10°C

Mostly Cloudy

Tue

13°C | 10°C

Light rain

Wed

12°C | 2°C

Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Halfway dad Jochen Bouman urges parents to have their say on Kent Freedom Pass changes

24 March 2014
by Emma Grove

Parents still have a few hours to comment on a Kent County Council (KCC) consultation on changes to the Freedom Pass.

Last month, we reported how the authority was forced to abandon its plans to scrap the scheme, which gives children unlimited travel, after widespread protests.

It has instead decided to double the price to £200 and limit its use to between 6am and 7pm, Monday to Friday.

One of the petitions against proposed changes to the Kent Freedom Pass

One of the petitions against proposed changes to the Kent Freedom Pass

In another major change, the council says it will look at reducing the cost of the post-16 pass to £400 from £520.

A four-week consultation on the proposals is due to finish today, but the authority is facing renewed pressure over the issue after the opposition Liberal Democrats at County Hall launched a fresh petition, calling on them to extend the scheme to 16 to 19-year-olds.

Jochen Bouman, of Queenborough Road, Halfway, has three children who from September will all be attending The Westlands School in Sittingbourne.

He says is will be near on impossible to find the money to cover the £600 it will cost him to get the passes at the increased rate.

The 39-year-old, who works at Maidstone Borough Council, says although he drives nearby every day to work, it’s too early and late to do the school run.

He says many people who are on benefits and don’t necessarily have the pressures of employment can get a concession on the price, which he describes as working people being penalised.

An Arriva bus in Maidstone

An Arriva bus in Maidstone

“Sadly on the Island we don’t have a KCC funded secondary school – if they can’t even fund the travel to get to a KCC funded school they are playing totally into the hands of the private sector,” he said.

“My children have worked hard to get to Westlands and any ambitious parent will try and get their children into a good school.

“It’s a 100% increase in price and we are losing advantages of it, like not being able to use it in August.

“I think the proposal is badly thought out.”

Mr Bouman has responded to the consultation, suggesting KCC at least offers some sort of monthly payment or direct debit scheme to spread the cost.

To have your say, go to www.consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/travelpass/consultationhome

To sign the e-petition, go to epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/60369

Click here for more news from Sheerness.

Click here for more news from around the county.

Comments 

Forgotten Password?

Forgotten Username?

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments.
Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.