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Petition against price increase of Kent County Council 11-16 bus pass gains nearly 7,000 signatures

By Luke May

Thousands of parents are calling on Kent County Council to scrap plans to raise the cost of its school bus pass.

Right now parents have to fork out £290 a year for the a pass for secondary school children aged 11 to 16.

However, it was revealed last month that cost will rise by £60 - an inflation-busting 21% - to £350.

Arriva buses parked at the company's Tunbridge Wells depot. Picture: Andy Jones
Arriva buses parked at the company's Tunbridge Wells depot. Picture: Andy Jones

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

The council has been accused of "targeting the most vulnerable citizens in society," in a petition addressed to MPs in Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells.

The petition, signed by nearly 7,000 people, points out the bus pass cost £150 just four years ago.

It reads: "The last time the increase was made KCC said it was due to bus services increasing their prices.

"This new fee of £350 would be impossible for some parents to pay, but many have no choice..." - Petition against bus pass price increase

"However, Arriva said they had not increased their costs to KCC and it was a wholly KCC lead initiative.

"KCC are punishing parents who (by law) have to send their children to school.

"This new fee of £350 would be impossible for some parents to pay, but many have no choice.

"There are other ways that KCC could find £800,000 per year. But they are targeting the most vulnerable citizens in society. Children."

The petition, available to view here, is addressed to Greg Glark (Tunbridge Wells MP), Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling MP) and Kent County Council leader Paul Carter.

At the time the hike was revealed, 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."

You can sign the petition here.

Read more: All the latest news from Tunbridge Wells

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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