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Kent County Council announces plans to raise cost of Young Persons' Travel Pass - previously Freedom Pass - for bus travel by £50

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Parents will have to fork out an extra £50 for bus travel to school for their children.

Kent County Council announced plans to increase the price of the Young Persons' Travel Pass - which replaced the Freedom Pass - from £200 to £250.

The authority, which has been criticised for releasing the news during half term, described the discretionary scheme as "the most generous of its kind outside London".

The bus pass cost is set to rise
The bus pass cost is set to rise

Bosses say the decision to raise the price is "tough" but necessary as the authority is hit with significant cuts in government funding - meaning it has to save £209 million over the next three years.

The pass is available to 11 to 16 year olds, who can use it to travel on Kent's bus network between 6am to 7pm from Monday to Friday.

A final decision on whether to hike the price by 25% will be made by the council's cabinet on Monday.

"In the face of government cuts, it is as much as we can afford..." - Matthew Balfour

KCC's cabinet member for environment and transport, Matthew Balfour, said: "We are choosing to continue supporting families in the county and are committed to providing 11-to-16 year-old pupils with the opportunity of taking the bus to school, saving parents hundreds of pounds a year.

"Outside London this is the most generous scheme in the country – and many councils offer no help at all.

"There are around 25,000 pupils using the Young Persons' Travel Pass and we understand its importance to parents.

"As a result, we have taken great care to maintain the scheme in its current form, but in the face of government cuts, it is as much as we can afford."

The council reimburses bus operators for travel made by pass holders.

A freedom pass
A freedom pass

The average cost per pass to Kent's council taxpayers is £588, of which £250 will come from the cost of the pass.

It will be frozen at £100 for some families on low incomes, and free for those in care, care leavers and young carers.

The cost of the travel card for over 16s will remain at £400 per year.

Families can apply for a new Young Persons' Travel Pass for the next academic year from Monday, June 15.

Click here for more information.

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