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Kent school bus pass hiked by inflation-busting 21% to £350

Parents have been handed an inflation-busting increase to the bill for school bus passes, which will rise to £350 for the new academic year.

The £60 increase over the cost of the current pass is a 21% rise. Inflation is officially running at 2%.

Kent County Council expects the rise will save it £800,000 a year in subsidy.

The cost of bus passes is set to increase by £60
The cost of bus passes is set to increase by £60

KCC said it was "sharing" the cost of school travel with parents. The new pass would "halve the costs of bus travel rather than buying a ticket direct from bus operators".

The KCC cabinet member for transport Cllr Mike Whiting (Con) said: “I am happy that we have managed to continue to give parents this vital assistance by funding half the cost of bus travel for the whole year.

“For about 30,000 youngsters across the county who take advantage of the scheme, it remains the most generous of its kind outside of London.

“The money we put in means we share the fare with you, plus you can travel an unlimited amount on Arriva and Stagecoach buses in the county."

For sixth-formers (up to 19) there is a 16+ travel card which costs £400.

However there is a reduced price of £100 for those on low incomes who are entitled to free school meals.

Cllr Mike Whiting
Cllr Mike Whiting

Parents will be able to spread the cost of the card by paying in instalments, but that privilege will cost them a £10 administration fee.

The new passes to be known as Travel Saver and 16+ Travel Saver replace the existing Young Person’s Travel Pass and 16+ Travel Card.

KCC expects to subsidise the cards to the tune of around £10 million each year and estimates the fee will mean parents paying only about £2 for a return journey each day.

The Travel Saver also allows children to use the card for free travel on Arriva and Stagecoach’s bus network throughout the day at weekends and during school holidays.

Cllr Whiting said: “Such large discretionary areas of spend are increasingly difficult for councils to provide but we are committed to help parents in this way and with the Travel Saver, costs can now be spread over a longer period through our new instalment offer.

“We remain committed to subsidising a scheme that we know thousands of parents and young people think of as a valuable product from their county council.”

Applications can be made from June 3 and parents must apply before July 14 to ensure the card is available for the new school year in September.

The cost of the pass can be spread over eight months from August through to March depending on when applications are received.

For more information and to apply, click here.

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