Published: 18:37, 08 January 2021
| Updated: 18:54, 08 January 2021
Payments for children's bus passes have been cancelled following a backlash from parents who feared they would have to carry on forking out for the service.
Kent County Council had this week urged families not to cancel direct debits for its travel saver cards, despite the closure of schools during lockdown.
Aylesham mum Vicky Richards argued it was unfair for families to be charged for a service they could not use, as the authority said payments would be taken until it became clear when classes would reopen.
But now KCC has back-pedalled and announced that it will be cancelling the £45 monthly payment for January and February.
Transport cabinet member Cllr Michael Payne explained: "We appreciate how hard another lockdown is for parents and the impact it is having on families, businesses and livelihoods, particularly after it follows some of the harshest tier restrictions.
"Council officers have been working behind the scenes on the best way to help those that purchased a Kent Travel Saver but are now not currently able to use it because of the restrictions.
“Although the Kent Travel Saver cards are normally non-refundable, KCC believes it is only right not to collect the January and February direct debit payments."
Cllr Payne also says that the authority will come to a decision on the March payment once it is "better informed" about when children can return to class.
Vulnerable children and those of critical workers will still be able to use their passes - which offer cut-price bus travel - on their journeys to school.
“We will also review the level of refund for those who have paid upfront in full once we know the timescale for all pupils to be allowed to return," Cllr Payne added.